North East ap­proves wa­ter rate study



— The North East town board awarded the bid Wed­nes­day night for a study that will ex­am­ine and make rec­om­men­da­tions about the town’s wa­ter rate struc­ture.

The board voted to award the bid for the study to H. Wilden and As­so­ciates Inc., of Al­len­town, Pa., for $19,900. The study is es­ti­mated to


take ap­prox­i­mately three months to com­plete, said Ken Natale, the town’s di­rec­tor of fi­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The town bud­geted $25,000 for the study and put out a re­quest for pro­pos­als in Au­gust. The dead­line to sub­mit pro­pos­als was Sept. 30 and af­ter re­view­ing the two pro­pos­als re­ceived, town staff rec­om­mended the board go with Wilden.

Be­cause a wa­ter rate study is a pro­fes­sional ser­vice, the con­tract is not au­to­mat­i­cally awarded to the low­est bid­der. In­stead, bid­ders must sub­mit a cost pro­posal and a tech­ni­cal pro­posal, which is scored on an 85-point scale, Natale said.

“These two bid­ders scored com­par­a­tively. Where they di­verged greatly is on the cost,” he said.

The other bid­der, Black & Veatch, a na­tional com­pany with an of­fice in Wilm­ing­ton, Del., sub­mit­ted a cost pro­posal of $77,800, Natale said.

Mayor Robert McKnight asked if Natale had any idea why the two cost pro­pos­als were so dif­fer­ent. Natale said the only sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence he could find was the num­ber of peo­ple work­ing on the project. While Wilden will have less peo­ple work­ing on the study, Natale said he doesn’t ex­pect this will im­pact the time­line.

When Natale pro­posed con­duct­ing a wa­ter rate study dur­ing the town’s bud­get meet­ings last spring, he noted that such a study should be done ev­ery 10 or 15 years.

The town’s re­quest for pro­pos­als states that the “broad ob­jec­tive of the study is to ad­e­quately fund the wa­ter util­ity op­er­a­tions and cap­i­tal costs while min­i­miz­ing rates to the great­est de­gree pos­si­ble.”

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