Contract awarded

A Forest city firm received the contract to clear log jams from the Auglaize River between now and April 1, 2014.    

The Joint Board of Commissioners from Allen, Auglaize and Shelby Counties unanimously awarded the contract to Rahrig Tree Co. to clear logjams and trees along a 62-mile stretch of the Auglaize River from Westminster in Allen County through Auglaize County and back through Allen County and ending at the Putnam County line.

The baseline cost of the contract is $294,869, but since the contract was based on a per logjam removal the cost could climb if the contractor and an appointed river inspector agree on additional logjams and trees to be removed. The engineer’s estimate is $776,020.

“They are a hard working crew and they should do a good job,” Allen Soil and Water Conservation District Drainage Technician Dan Ellerbrock said regarding Rahrig Tree Co. “They were the ones who did the Ottawa River project back

in 2007 and that project went through Allen and Putnam counties and right through the city of Lima.”

The Rahrig Tree Co.

submitted a bid with a different cost for each type of log jam instead of the project as a whole. They submitted a different price for removing a one-tree jam, a two-to three-tree jam, a jam causing a major blockage and a “mega jam.” They multiplied that cost by the number of logjams of each type.

Ellerbrock termed the Rahrig Tree Co. bid as innovative. He also noted it is advantageous to the counties involved in the project.

“We will be a able to do a lot more work based on his bid because it based on a per item basis so his low price doesn’t scare me,” Ellerbrock said. “I would term it very creative bidding.

“Based on the bid he gave, we could do twice as much work and still be under the estimate because of the way his prices ran,” he said.

Ellerbrock said Rahrig will remove jams by working upstream from the Putnam County line to Westminster and then work from the headwaters at Westminster back to the Putnam County line based on the amount of money available.

Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart said he estimates Rahrig and the inspector of the project will find more logjams and trees in the river, leaning trees and dead ash trees along the river bank than the inventory found in 2003.

“There are literally thousands of ash trees out there and if they are on the north bank, the west bank or the south bank then they are going to be in the river shortly,” Reinhart said. “I will take my chances that the ones on the east bank will blow into the fields, but if we spent a lot on this contract without clearing those trees then we would be spending a lot on maintenance in the next 10 years. We can deal with them for the next 10 years or we can address them now.

“This contract will also save on the maintenance contract,” the county engineer said. “When the smoke clears, by paying him per unit item for trees he moves then we can stand here two years from now and be astounded how clear the river still is.”

Ellerbrock and Reinhart said the number has to be higher after the ice storm of 2005, two floods including one in 2007, the wind storm on June 29 and another September storm. Reinhart’s crews have found an average of 25 or 26 trees per mile after inspecting the St. Marys River this July after inspecting and cleaning the river in the summer of 2011.

“By cleaning the river now and addressing the ash trees is a win-win for the public,” Ellerbrock said. “If he completes the job and we do it under budget then the remaining money goes into the maintenance fund and the more work we get done now then it will be longer before we have to maintain the river and use the maintenance funds.”

The maintenance fund is for future tree and logjam removal as well as bank repair.

The project start date is today, but Rahrig Tree Co. officials noted they would start in late winter or early spring. Ellerbrock explained the clock on the project starts today, but Rahrig would be credited for bad weather days regardless so the project could be and likely would be extended past the April 1 deadline.

The other bids ranged from $634,275 submitted by Turf Concepts, of Elida, to $849,010 by Brumbaugh Construction, of Arcanum. The other two bids were submitted by J & M Excavating, of Cloverdale, at $766,300 and All-Purpose Contracting, of Delphos, at $642,245.