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City council members debate lead pipe replacement plan in Saginaw

The Saginaw City Council is opting to not award a contract to a company recommended by city hall to replace lead water pipes in the city.
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The Saginaw City Council is opting to not award a contract to a company recommended by city hall to replace lead water pipes in the city.

The decision could jeopardize the fate of an over $4 million loan the city secured from the state last year.

“As a city council person, I posted to be watching over the money that we spent. So, I would say let’s go for the lowest bidder,” said Saginaw Mayor Pro Tem Michael Balls.

The city council opted not to award a $7.2 million drinking water lead service line replacement contract to a company recommended by city hall staff.

During their meeting on June 20, the council was supposed to vote on the proposal to hire one of two qualified bidders to replace 720 lead lines over the next three years.

Some members on the council felt that a third company that put in a bid that was half the price of the lowest bid should be awarded the contract.

“Us doing our due diligence is really what’s important. I’m not sure I’m not sure for me. I want the best qualified person,” said Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore.

Moore said she has never seen something like this before, but says the issue is not about the cost of the contract but the quality of the work.

“I don’t want to end up like Flint, I don’t want any of the residents to end up like Flint. I want them to cut their water on and the water be clear,” Moore said.

The state grant in question has a deadline of July 6 to hire a contractor for the job.

However, city officials are working on getting an extension.

“We are working on the extension. And if we’re if we’re not granted it then we’ll call I will call an emergency meeting,” Moore said.

The battle of quality versus price continues.

“I would like for them to the city to prove to me that they can’t do the work before you award to somebody else at $10 million,” Balls said.

Mayor Moore said once the contract is awarded work on replacing the lines should start right away.