WAVERLY – The Waverly City Council rejected a bid to replace the degritter building during its meeting on April 28, which was held virtually using a teleconferencing app.

The city received a bid from Philip Carkoski Construction and Trenching Inc. of Loup City totaling $359,902.50 to build a block building roughly the size of a one-car garage, including electrical and mechanical work, demolition of the old building and adding an underground grit pump suction line.

A degritter is used to keep grit (rocks, sand, fine particles) out of the wastewater before it continues on through the wastewater treatment facility. The building protects the equipment from winter elements, but has failed in the last few years to do so during the winter, according to City Administrator Stephanie Fisher. The Public Works Department has had to turn off the equipment to keep it from freezing after the shaft on the degritter broke in a previous year. The original building was constructed in 2008.

Mayor Mike Werner and members of the council said they felt the bid was too high. Werner said they started looking into replacing the building three years ago, and at that time the cost was thought to be $100,000, said Tracey Whyman, the city’s director of public works.

Fisher said the building must be explosion and corrosion proof, which adds to the cost.

Werner said he would like to see the bid lowered by at least $100,000.

“We need to find a way to get that number down in my mind to $200,000 or $225,000, something like that,” he said.

Whyman said he sent the bid documents to six contractors, but only one bid was received. The council instructed Whyman to look at the project again and explore other ideas, then put it out for bid again.

“We’ve got to figure this out,” said Werner. “It’s been going on for too long.”

In other action, Lancaster County Deputy Dustin Buchheister reported that the sheriff’s department received 47 calls for service between March 24 and April 24.

“That’s quite a bit lower than normal this time of year,” he said.

However, there has been a slight increase in minor domestic disturbances, he added.

The deputies are stopping ATVs and golf carts out on the roads that the weather has gotten warmer to ensure they are meeting the city’s ordinances, Buchheister said.

The sheriff’s department has been using some revised procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, Buchheister said, including minimizing exposure to the deputies by investigating over the phone when possible. He said two deputies were tested for the coronavirus, but their tests were negative.

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