Dustin Stucky | Reporter

OVERBROOK—In the midst of Overbrook’s water trouble, the city council was reluctant to make decisions to continue the systematic repair of the city’s wells and pumps. The council’s Jan. 13 meeting was on the city’s first day of two without water. At the time of the meeting, city maintenance personnel and representatives from Kansas Rural Water Association (KRWA) were unsure of the cause of the problem.

“We thought it was the leak in front of the grocery store, but we’ve shut off that section of town and are still unable to build pressure,” Gary Armentrout, of KRWA, reported to the council, “We must have leaks elsewhere.”

Despite the crisis and subsequent interruptions, the council conducted its meeting, addressing a number of other issues. While they made no decisions regarding well and pump repairs, council members did hear an update on the process.

“The inorganic chemical results from wells 1 and 2 came back showing high levels of iron,” said Overbrook City Clerk Jim Koger.

The council agreed that a treatment plan would be discussed at an upcoming meeting. Other news regarding the water works’ repairs included the delivery of a shed to house telemetry equipment at the city’s water tower.

The council also heard an update from city engineer Vic Robbins about the second phase of a sewer rehabilitation project.

Three contractors had taken a serious interest in the project, he reported: King’s Construction, Oskaloosa, bid the project at $479,000; Emerson, Topeka, bid it at $599,000; Reed’s Dozing and Contracting, Sherman, Mo., bid $660,000. The council eliminated the highest bid from consideration, and discussed the other two.

Robbins said he had worked with King’s Construction in the past, and had a mixed review.

“They can do the work, but they have to be watched,” said Robbins.

His sentiments were backed up by a reference from Jefferson County regarding the contractor: “They do good work, but you had better have a full time supervisor on duty at all times.”

The project contract calls for a supervisor to be on site at all times, and the paperwork contractors submitted was to have the name of a supervisor listed.

“King’s Construction didn’t list a supervisor,” said Robbins, “I’ve called them and asked that they list one, but they haven’t gotten back to me.”

The issue of a contractor’s work ethic spurred discussion among council members.

“It sounds like working with King’s Construction might be a headache,” said Overbrook City Council Member Dorthy Chikly, “it might be worth it to pay more and go with the other contractor.”

Overbrook Mayor Don Schultz reminded the council that half of the project would be paid with grant money; the difference in the contractors’ bids would effectively be halved as far as the city was concerned, he said.

Overbrook City Council Member Tad Goodyear spoke up on the other side of the argument, “Fifty thousand dollars is still a lot of money, and there’s nothing saying that we might not have a headache working with Emerson as well.”

The council decided to give King’s Construction an opportunity to correct the bid paperwork before making a final decision.

In other business, the council:

o heard a treasurer’s report regarding the city exceeding its budget on water and sewer, the swimming pool, and lake expenditures in 2009.

o heard a report from Overbrook Police Chief Ed Harmison about the new car the department had just received.

o approved newly-revised flood plain maps.

o discussed continued easement issues with trailer homes in the city.