LEESBURG -- The Leesburg City Council voted Tuesday to approve a low bid of $421,937 by Central Plant Technology Inc. of Slocumb, Ala., to install new, more efficient water meters in the city.
The bid is well below the $460,000 estimate city officials used as a bid basis, according to City Clerk Casey Moore.
"The original estimate was for $651,000 and change, but we were approved for a principal forgiveness grant that took $190,000 from the estimate," Moore told the council, which was missing members Judy Powell, Rhonda Futch and Sidney Johnson. "That dropped the estimate to around $460,000, and the low bid (by CPT) was well below that."
Moore said that after a pre-construction meeting and document signings toward the end of March, construction should start around the first of April and be completed in 60 days.
Mayor Jim Quinn warned that some residents' water bills could increase slightly with the installation of the new meters.
"The older meters that some people have now run slower than new ones, so they're not giving an accurate water-use reading," Quinn said. "Once these newer, more accurate, meters are in place, everyone's consumption rate will even out. There may be slight increases for some, but everyone will be charged equitably."
City Attorney Bert Gregory suggested the council make a concerted effort to inform the public about work on the meters.
"They're doing this on the street where I live (in Vienna), and it's raised some eyebrows because no one told us about the work in advance," Gregory said. "It's best to give people as much prior notice as possible."
Also at the meeting, the council approved a resolution that will make 1.3 miles of State Highway 195 a city-maintained roadway upon completion of the Leesburg North Bypass. Lee Planning and Engineering Director Bob Alexander showed council members maps that outlined the east-west direction 195 will take in the city limits as construction of the bypass is completed.
Alexander said the 1.3 miles of 195 that currently ends in the heart of historic downtown will be taken off the state road system and become a city-maintained road, if the council approved the resolution, which it did.
Alexander told the council right-of-way work had begun on the bypass and that construction should begin during "the next calendar year." Alexander estimated the bypass would be completed in 2014.