VERNON TOWNSHIP — The addition of fluoride to Meadville’s water took another step closer to becoming reality Wednesday as Meadville Area Water Authority board members approved nearly $250,000 in spending.

In two 3-0 votes, the board approved a bid for construction of the fluoride addition project and then authorized spending for computer monitoring equipment and programming that will control the fluoridation equipment. Board Chairman Tim Groves and members Dennis Finton and Mark Gildea, the three board members who voted in favor of fluoridation in June 2017, voted in favor of the work. Board members John Fulmer and Hal Tubbs, who opposed fluoridation, were absent from the meeting.

The fluoridation addition construction project received interest from seven contractors, three of whom submitted bids, according to Tom Thompson, the authority’s consulting engineer.

The winning bid of $184,800 came from Konzel Construction of Erie. Konzel’s bid came in $317 under the next-lowest bid from G.M. McCrossin Inc. of Bellefonte.

“They are qualified to do the work,” Thompson said of Konzel. “We don’t see any issues with that. We would recommend approval.”

The amount of the bid was in line with the authority’s expectations, according to Groves.

“This looks like it was about right on the spot with the estimates we had for the cost,” Groves said.

Process and Data Automation of Erie will design and install the computer monitoring and control equipment for the addition of fluoride at a cost of $60,480. Unlike the construction portion of the project, this part was not put out for bid.

Controls for the addition of fluoride will be integrated into the existing computerized controls, which were installed by Process and Data Automation.

“Since (they were) the original installer of the system, we have a combination of proprietary as well as professional service being provided, so for those reasons I didn’t think it was subject to bidding,” Attorney Ted Watts told the board.

Before calling for a vote, Groves asked to review the cost of fluoridation on a per customer basis.

The cost, Thompson said, works out to about $3 per year for an average household or about 25 cents per month.

After the meeting, Project Manager Bob Harrington said a start time for the work would depend on the contractor’s schedule.

“I don’t have a start date yet,” Harrington said. “I would expect it to be in the next couple of months.”

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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