Peterson sworn in as new council member, city awards quotes on sewer projects

Josh Peterson was sworn in as Bemidji’s newest council member during Monday’s meeting.

Peterson won a special election to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Ward 2’s Mike Beard, who left citing health concerns in February.

The council had a fairly light agenda after that ceremony, with a couple bids awarded for short-notice sewer projects.

Reierson Construction was awarded the bid for a sagging sewer project on Arch Lane.

Reierson Construction and the city are currently involved in a lawsuit for an incident last summer in Nymore, where sewage reportedly backed into homes. That litigation is still ongoing.

Council member Michael Meehlhause asked if Reierson Construction was the responsible decision in light of that ongoing litigation, but City Attorney Al Felix explained that the law mandating municipalities to award quotes to the lowest responsible bidder generally referred to dollar amounts, and a lawsuit in progress without a final determination is not grounds to deem a bidder irresponsible.

The quote came in higher than the engineer’s estimates, but Engineer Sam Anderson said the discrepancy is in the dewatering process.

The quote was awarded to Reierson Construction by unanimous vote.

The engineering department was notified of another sewer issue on 22nd street earlier this summer. That project awarded to Sparky’s Construction.

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