Assistant City Manager Frank Frazier told the Henderson City Council on Monday evening that the city is looking to expedite the replacement of the failing UV water disinfection system by proceeding the with acquisition and installation of new equipment without first obtaining bids.
According to Frazier, this is allowed under North Carolina general statutes because of the emergency nature of the work.
The disinfection system has been failing for some time. Grant funding given to Henderson by North Carolina during the 2009-2010 fiscal year was recalled by Gov. Bev Purdue as she sought to balance the state’s budget in the wake of the economic crisis that occurred during the second half of 2008. That funding was restored in the most recent budget.
Member Garry Daeke asked how much time would be gained by using the exemption. Frazier estimated that it would advance the process by three to four weeks.
Frazier added that informal bids would be sought from three or four contractors with whom the city has worked before.
Henderson Water Reclamation Facility Director Tom Spain told members that the UV system currently in place is “eating money like a Pac-man”. He said that in five days $16,000 worth of ballast was lost because of the failing equipment.
City Manager Ray Griffin told members that there is also an issue with keeping up state standards. He said that the UV system is a “critical component for disinfection” and it has had continual breakdowns during the last 18 months.
Griffin also noted that he wanted to spend the money before it gets rescinded again.
Member Mike Inscoe asked if there are multiple manufacturers of the equipment. Spain replied that Trojan is the industry standard. When Inscoe asked if negotiations had occurred with the company, Spain replied that the city had received a $75,000 rebate that will be allowed to count as the city’s match to the grant.
Spain also indicated through Inscoe’s questioning that multiple vendors would be asked for informal bids for installation.
The vote to allow the no-bid process passed without opposition. Member Mary Emma Evans was not present at the meeting for medical reasons.