Public Works contract goes to Wisconsin company

Photo: The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 didn’t waste any time expressing their opinion on the decision by the Elburn Village Board to award a labor contract to a company located out of state. The huge inflatable rat is used as a visible display of the union’s solidarity against those not supporting local labor. Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—In a 4-3 vote, the Elburn Village Board on Monday voted to award a public works contract to a company in Wisconsin after more debate on labor disputes and keeping the work closer to home.

Municipal Well & Pump bid $43,364.88 for repairs on Well No. 3 that include extensive work to repair and possibly replace the pump and motor. Village President Dave Anderson cast the deciding vote in favor of awarding the contract.

Trustee Bill Grabarek said he’d gone over all the material from a previous Committee of the Whole meeting in which questions were raised about labor disputes filed against Municipal, whose representative said all had been resolved. Grabarek recommended that the board award the contract to Municipal, the lowest bidder.

Trustee Jerry Schmidt said the board needs to set a firm starting and completion date.

“If it’s not completed on time, I think we should have a fine in place,” Schmidt said.

Craig Allen, representing Municipal, said liquidated damages are included in the contract at $500 a day for substantial completion and $250 a day for final completion. If the motor is sent out to another vendor, he said his company has no control over that, and his experience is that municipalities don’t hold the contractor responsible for outside vendor delays. Allen said depending on the extent of repairs needed once the well is inspected, the job could be finished in anywhere from three weeks to 10 weeks.

Trustee Jeff Walter said only one of the three companies can say they have factory-trained certifications to do the work, Layne Christensen Co., the highest bidder at $53,879. The company is headquartered in Kansas but has a local office in Aurora.

“We’ve had excellent experience with Layne Christensen,” Walter said. “I ask you guys (that) we think about that.”

Trustee Schmidt expressed his desire to award the bid to Water Well Solutions of Elburn.

“They’re the middle bid—I really feel that we should do business with a local company,” Schmidt said.

Village President Anderson reiterated his comment from two weeks ago that the board is fiscally responsible to the community and the taxpayers.

Trustee Ken Anderson agreed, saying the board is accountable to the residents and obligated to do all it can “with the limited amount of money that we have to make it go further.”

Trustees Anderson, Grabarek and Hastert voted in favor of awarding the contract to Municipal; Trustees Schmidt, Walter and Gualdoni voted no. Village President Anderson broke the tie with an affirmative vote.