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LCF sewer bid is unexpectedly low

Marshall Allen

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- Experience working on Sewer District 1 allowed

contractor Ken Thompson to bid an exceptionally low $10.5 million to

build Sewer District 2, the fate of which will be decided by voters


within the next six weeks..

The bid is about $3 million lower than the city’s original estimates,

and the savings would be passed on to residents of District 2. District 2

is the area north of Foothill Boulevard loosely bookended by Gould Avenue


and La Canada Boulevard. It contains nearly 1,400 homes.

Factoring in Thompson’s bid, the per-parcel assessment for District 2

could be around $9,000, City Engineer Elroy Kiepke said. Before the bid,

engineers estimated the per-parcel assessment to be around $12,000.

Residents could pay the assessment through a property tax increase over

20 years, or in a one-time payment, depending on their preference.

The bid of Thompson’s company, Ken Thompson Inc., was less than half

the highest bid of $21.4 million. The next-lowest bid after Thompson’s


was nearly $16.5 million. The city received the District 2 bids on April


“We were surprised by the spread of the bids,” Kiepke said. “We

honestly expected bids in the range of $13 million.”

Thompson, whose company did the work on Sewer District 1, has hands-on

experience dealing with the soil, and used that experience to fine-tune

his numbers, City Manager Jerry Fulwood said.

The city will recommend that the City Council accept Thompson’s bid at


its Monday meeting.

“We certainly are going to encourage him to take the award of the

contract, and we’re going to work with him to be sure it’s completed,”

Kiepke said. “It feels very good [to save money], but by the same token

you don’t want to get halfway through the contract and have the

contractor bail.”

The city will mail ballots to residents in District 2 on May 8.

Residents must cast their vote for or against sewers within 45 days of

receiving the ballots. The project would need a simple majority vote to

move forward.

Thompson’s company performed the construction on District 1 over 18

months between 1998 and early 2000, City Engineer Elroy Kiepke said. The

company’s work was well done and within about $300,000 of its bid, Kiepke

said. The total cost of District 1 was about $6 million, less expensive

than District 2 because it contained about 850 homes, Kiepke said.