Earlier this year, financial advisors for Cloverdale informed the town council that a revised budget called for $2 million in construction for the town's soon-to-be wastewater facility.
However, at its recent November meeting, council members learned the dollar amount was significantly higher than they originally believed.
At the Cloverdale Town Council November meeting, Triad and Associates representative Mike Hunter informed the board that bids had been completed for construction on the project. He recommended the town accept a bid from Bowen Engineering, estimated at $2.71 million, subject to final financing on the project.
Board member Judy Whitaker expressed concern regarding the bid, saying the bids the town had received for the wastewater project were much higher than the council was led to believe they would be when they discussed the issue in May.
Hunter, however, told the board that the "scope of the project has increased."
"Everybody was aware that the cost of the project was going up," Hunter said.
But Whitaker disagreed, saying she believed the projected construction costs would be no more than $2 million.
In May, with the help of Krohn and Associates representative James Treat, the town passed an ordinance for the town to purchase a bond worth $2 million to fund the project. At the same meeting, the town passed a second ordinance calling for new wastewater rates, which went into effect on July 1. A different rate is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2007.
"Why are we not considering re-bidding," Whitaker asked.
Council President Don Sublett agreed with Whitaker.
"I think the bids are way too high," Sublett said to Hunter. "I was shocked they came in so high."
However, Sublett said through his own research, he believed the bid could be negotiated by 15-20 percent if the town accepted it.
Council Vice President Dennis Padgett agreed.
"I think we can negotiate $200,000-300,000 off this price," Padgett said.
Treat told the board that a second loan could be purchased.
"We should be able to get the money, but there are no guarantees," Treat told the council. "We need to start working on it really quickly.
"If we move real quick, we should be able to get money by the end of the year," Treat added.
Sublett said he thought the town had just two options. He said they could accept the bid and enter negotiations to reduce it, or the town would have to borrow more money and increase sewer rates further.
"I don't like the financial position we're in to do what we have to do," Whitaker said. However, she said she was in favor to move forward with the bid.
Board member John Davis then motioned to accept the bid, with Whitaker granting the second.
However, the board voted down the motion, 3-2.
Then, representatives from Triad explained to the board that a motion regarding accepting the bid "tentatively" would be fine.
Padgett then motioned using the word tentative on the Bowen Engineering bid, with Vickroy granting the second. The board voted 5-0 in favor of the measure.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, a town resident asked Padgett if he had voted in favor of the first motion. Padgett responded saying he did not vote in favor of the motion.
After reviewing the tape from the meeting, town clerk/treasurer Patti Truax confirmed there was a yes vote from Padgett for the first motion.
According to the meeting tape, Sublett asked for a vote on the original motion from Davis. Truax said the tape confirmed Whitaker, Davis and Padgett voted yes on the motion, with Sublett and Vickroy voting no.
According to Truax, Sublett then began to move on to another issue before Whitaker asked if the motion failed. Sublett, according to the meeting tape, said the motion had failed, with three members voting no and two voting yes.