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AVCSD directors generate bid for emergency power

With a plan of keeping water flowing should there be an emergency in Quincy, directors of American Valley Community Services District listened to the most recent report on generators.

In an on again, off again plan, AVCSD General Manager Jim Doohan told directors months ago they were looking at costs for installing more generators at some of the district’s wells at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Gearing up for the project once again, Doohan sought a bid on just a design from PACE Engineering. PACE’s quote is for the design for two standby generators for existing well facilities. “It is understood that there is an existing generator at the Sunset Well that is no longer utilized,” said Tony Bowser, principal engineer for PACE.

The design-only cost is $83,400, according to Doohan.

“We’re talking about three sites?” asked Director Mike Beatty.

Doohan said that well four would get a new generator, while others are traded around. He added that PACE’s estimate is for two generators along with housing and other design work.

Doohan said that once the design is completed then the project could go out to bid.

Director Bill Martin said that Northern California is heading for another drought year. “We’ve got to keep our tanks full,” he said. He didn’t want to see a situation where the district was suddenly faced with an emergency and needing to hastily bring in generators.

“I’m agreeing with you, but it’s still expensive,” Beatty said.

Under the plan, an existing generator would be moved to the Bellamy Well site. There a new building addition is necessary to house the generator and its accessories, according to PACE’s engineer.

At Well No. 4, a new standby generator is anticipated. It would be housed in an existing building.

“After completing our initial site visit on Jan. 22, 2019, and discussing the project on-site, we believe we have a good understanding of the project scope,” Bowser explained.

As discussed with a former assistant general manager, it was thought at one point the work could be done in-house. “If in-house would you still have to have had this plan?” Director Kathy Felker asked.

Doohan said the design was necessary. “Yes, they have to do all the electrical and structure,” he replied.

Doohan said PACE was also preparing the design plans.

Business Manager Katie Nunn said they were making sure that all of the bids were good so that they would administer all the contractors.

Beatty, for the second time during a meeting, brought up bids. “They’re no different than the last projects,” he said about generators and having a water line dug. “We need to make sure we’re spending our money wisely.”

Once again directors reverted to discussions about the importance of bids. Martin said that if the policy is in place then it’s a process of checking “the boxes and we don’t even have to think about it.”

“Why can’t we do this internally?” Felker asked about the original notion of doing the work in-house.

Martin explained that even with employees doing the work there are still regulations that must be followed. And then there’s the liability issue.

Beatty said that in-house would also mean that the new work would take the staff away from other projects.

Felker asked Doohan what the intended timeframe of the project was. “Before fire season,” said Director Denny Churchill.

Martin reminded directors and Doohan that many people are buying their own generators. And as fire season approaches more will purchase them in anticipation of PG&E planned shutoffs.

Ultimately, directors voted three to one in favor of offering PACE the design contract. Beatty voted against it. Director Ruth Jackson was absent.

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