Sherman recently approved an emergency designation to get a city water well repaired ahead of an expected increased water demand for the summer.

The Sherman City Council recently approved repairs to the Luella 2 Woodbine Well under the emergency designation. At city staff’s recommendation, Weisinger Inc. from Willis will be engaged to repair the well at a contracted cost of $229,347.

“We would normally just go through the channels and get it repaired through the bidding process, but due to the fact that this is a major producer in our well system and due to the fact that summer’s onset is here, we expect water demands to increase,” Director of Utility Mark Gibson said. “So we want to be able to get that well up and running as soon as we can. So going through the bidding process would be a three to four month process. That doesn’t help us in the summertime.”

The city also received a $325,031 bid for the work from Alsay Inc. out of Houston that also included a need of 120 to complete the work compared to the 30-45 days Weisinger needed.

“Weisinger Inc. has done work on many city wells,” Gibson said. “They can do it and hopefully get us back in service in about six weeks. The other vendor was 120 days, which doesn’t help us out a lot. Weisinger was about $96,000 cheaper on their quote and fell within the range of what we estimated the cost should be.”

The price difference in the two quotes prompted council member Shawn Teamann to ask about the quality of the parts the two vendors were proposing to use.

“I always like saving money, but this quote came in quite a bit less than what we put out on the bidding request,” Teamann said. “One item we put out for $108,000 and came back like $50,000 and then a pump motor came back about $30,000 less. Is there any kind of specs on quality of those parts?”

Gibson explained the bid request specified the pump motor and pump the city wanted utilized in the repairs.

“Both people are bidding the same equipment,” Gibson said. “It is the equipment we want to put in the well.”

Council member Josh Stevenson agreed with Teamann’s concern.

“There’s a pretty wide discrepancy for things you imagine would be very similar,” Stevenson said.

Gibson said he believes part of the Alsay bid coming in higher was because the business is really busy.

“One of the vendors has all the work they want, kind of booked up, and that’s just seeing it in the quote,” Gibson said. “And Weisinger, they’ve been very helpful in the past. When we need help, they’ve come in and helped us.”

The emergency designation was approved unanimously by the council. Funds for the repairs will come from the city’s Utility Fund.