Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

September 2004

Update on Town Projects

The Town continues to work on projects such as the sewer trunk line and Mountain View Road water line replacements.

The sewer trunk line project was created as an emergency project in February 2003. Advertising and bidding requirements continue to delay this project. Initially, the project was bid and advertised for construction to begin in June 2004. At that time, bid packages were prepared and distributed to the interested contractors. Approximately eight contractors requested a bid package but only one contractor submitted a bid. This bid was approximately 300,000.00 higher than the engineer's cost estimate. Due to the overwhelming cost difference, the council agreed to reject the bid and have staff meet with our consulting engineering firm to modify the scope of work in an attempt to reduce the project cost.

While modifying the scope of work, staff and our engineering firm incorporated a new design specification to lower a section of pipe that will prevent the need for a pumping station once development takes place and additional connections are added to this line. When possible, it is in the Town's best interest to avoid the need for a pumping station and provide ways for our sewer system to operate at gravity flow without the assistance of mechanical devices that are subject to mechanical malfunctions and costly repairs.

The project was re-bided and, for a second time only one bid was received. This bid was for an additional 200,000.00 now putting the cost of the project over 900,000.00. Again, we rejected the bid based on the project cost and the fact that the contractor could not start the project within the specified time. The project was advertised for bids a third time on July 28, 2004 and approximately six bidders participated in the pre-construction meeting, these bids are due back August 31, 2004. We hope to have a more favorable bid this time and begin construction within the next 60 - 90 days.

As for the Mountain View Road water line project this bid was awarded with notice to proceed to the contractor. Since that time the State Fire Marshall and Frederick County department of planning and permits has held the project up for additional design specs. These delays were not anticipated; both the State and Frederick County had a review process, which the agencies signed off on in agreement. While the above sewer line project can be complete during the colder months of the year the Mountain View Rd water line project cannot. The Mountain View Rd. water line project requires a temporary water line be place above ground. The State Fire Marshall has signed off on the project, if Frederick County does not soon released the plans we will be forced to delay this project until spring 2005 before construction begins.

Both of these projects are very important to the town and our staff continues to work on these projects regularly. Unfortunately, the Town is not in a position to pay for these projects without borrowing some of the money. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is providing the Town with low interest rate loans (less than 1.5%). When we borrow State money there are many conditions attached to the loan agreement such as advertisement requirements, scope of work specifications and a State review process. In many cases these conditions tend to increase the amount of time it takes to get a project under construction and the strict scope of work specifications may increase the project cost. When State restrictions are put in place to protect small municipalities such as Emmitsburg that may not have the financial means or enforcement power sometimes needed when projects are not completed as expected.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the town office, or e-mail me at

Jim Hoover

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