Commission approves wastewater plant bid

File photo City Engineer Justin Howalt testified the more than 20-year-old wastewater treatment plant is in such bad repair the city spent more than $19,000 recently just to keep it functioning until the project begins.

CNJ staff

City commissioners approved a $6.8 million bid Thursday night, clearing the way for Clovis to get started on its wastewater treatment project.

The project had been stymied until district Judge David Reeb lifted a temporary restraining order Wednesday that prevented the city from moving forward.

“We have resolved all the issues we had with this bid and are ready to move forward with it,” said Dave Boswell, city purchasing agent.

Commissioners approved the bid 8-0, awarding the project to Reynolds Southwest.

“Start tomorrow,” Mayor Gayla Brumfield said with a laugh after the vote.

Brumfield has said the facility is in severe need of improvement and repair, noting the plant, “is about shot and we’ve just been putting Band-Aids on it.”

Delays in the bid process arose July 2 when Albuquerque contractor RMCI asked the judge for a restraining order against the city.

Reeb issued a temporary restraining order July 12, pending a hearing Wednesday.

RMCI argued the company the city planned to award the project to did not meet state bidding statutes requiring a company to reside in the state, according to court records.

Records show RMCI also filed a complaint with state licensing authorities.

Reynolds Southwest argued while its parent company is located in Indiana, it operates out of Albuquerque and maintains financial operations, employees and projects from that location.

City officials testified they verified Reynolds Southwest met statutory requirements.

Howalt testified the more than 20-year-old wastewater treatment plant is in such bad repair the city spent more than $19,000 recently just to keep it functioning until the project begins.

He said further delays will likely mean more problems, costing the city more in fines and penalties from state environmental authorities.

Reeb found there was sufficient evidence Reynolds Southwest is a New Mexico company.

Reeb told RMCI to return to court if the state found differently.

The project will be paid with $7 million generated by a bond sale.

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved a 1.5 percent salary increase for city employees. Exceptions include fire department employees, who will receive up to a 1 percent raise with the remaining .5 percent going to a department salary modification plan, and police officers whose bargaining unit is engaged in contract negotiations. The increase will cost the city $228,109, City Manager Joe Thomas said.

Commissioner Fred Van Soelen referred to the increase as a testament to the city’s conservative financial planning in financially trying times. “Although 1.5 percent is not what we’d like to offer as an increase, it’s an increase,” he said.

• Took no action on a request from resident Tim Seay to waive fees for weed cutting levied against his properties at 1810 1/2 West Seventh and 1809 Garcia streets.

City Attorney Dave Richards said state statute prohibits the city from compromising an undisputed debt and requires the matter be resolved in court.

Seay said he does dispute the $8,200 lien filed against the properties for weed cutting because he believes the fees to be to high.

“There’s only one kind of weed I know of that brings that kind of money,” he said, bringing laughter to the group.

Seay agreed to take the matter to court for resolution.