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December 14--  The City of Lyons held two bid openings for infrastructure work Thursday and was disappointed with both, according to City Manager Jason Hall.

The largest is a multi-million dollar project to expand the capacity of the city's wastewater treatment plant which serves the area north of the railroad tracks.  The city has secured approval for a $14.8 million federal loan for the project, however, the lowest of three bids came in well above that figure.  A Jacksonville firm said it could increase the plant's capacity to one million gallons a day for $16.3 million and to 1.5 million gallons a day for $17.5 million.

Hall says the city's engineering consultant will study the bids and verify the figures.  After that the options include accepting the low bid, accepting a comparable bid or re-bidding the project.  The latter option seems the most feasible since the city doesn't have the funds to cover the proposed costs, Hall noted.

The expansion has economic development implications.  Without more capacity, the industrial park north of Lyons will be unable to accept any industry which generates a significant amount of wastewater as part of the manufacturing process.  As an example, the vacant "spec" building in the park  is among five locations being considered by a Chinese company involved in food processing and adequate wastewater treatment is a project requirement.

The other bid opening Thursday was for street and storm drainage improvements in the Stewart Street area.  The apparent low bid from Sikes Brothers, Incorporated is $817,300.00.  The city has a state grant of $500,000 for the project and Hall says this bid, too, is higher than expected and more than the city is prepared to fund.  He says engineers will re-work the project and try to reduce its scope.

The council has a meeting next Tuesday, December 19th to consider its options.