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City Council OKs $4M Paving Bid, HVAC, Lead Pitcher Bids


[CREDIT: Rob Borklowski] Warwick City Hall. The City Council OK’d a $4 million paving bid Monday night.
WARWICK, RI — Monday night, the Warwick City Council unanimously approved a $4 million paving bid for two vendors, $85,000 for HVAC systems on city buildings and $30,000 for the Thayer and Warburton Arenas rink cooling, and $8,000 for Water Department lead filter pitchers.

The bids are available on the city’s website, along with other meeting documents.

DPW purchasing agent Christy.L.Moretti explained the $4 million paving bid will be serviced by two vendors to maximize the amount of work accomplished with the funds this coming year. The multiple bid approach was adopted by the council last year, as reported by City Council President Steve McAllister April 13, 2023.

“Last night, at the council meeting, we voted to have three paving vendors to choose from to do our spring and summer paving.  Roads repairs, potholes, sidewalk repairs are the top issues council members hear about from their constituents.  Over the past few years, Warwick has paved more roads than ever before.  In 2019, we voted for a $10 million infrastructure bond for road repairs.  We were able to get this bond for an interest rate under 1% (how times have changed).  We have completed the work from that bond and continue to coordinate with utility companies to pave even more streets.

Councilman Vinny Gebhart asked how the DPW did using the paving budget previously allocated.

“It went well. We spent just under $5 million dollars,” said Moretti.

Gebhart asked if she expects to be successful in using most of the new $4 million bid.

“We’re going to certainly try our hardest to get as much done as we can,” Moretti said, “It’s nice to have more than one vendor, simply because you can do more than one area at a time.” Also, she said, the engineering department tries to give the vendors work in areas where they bid lower, to spread the funds as wide as possible.

Councilman Timothy Howe said he’s noticed the improvement on city roads. “I’m noticing a lot of the roads I’m driving on are smooth,” Howe said.

Moretti said there is still $88,000 from previous $10 million paving bond still left, but the current paving funds come from the federal ARPA pandemic stimulus, gas company street work reimbursements, and RIDOT allocations.

“We’ve been paving more than we ever have,” McAllister said.

“Yes, we certainly have,” Moretti said.

“Great work to you and your team, and keep up the good work, because we know this is what we hear about,” from voters, McAllister said.

Moretti said that from Jan 2023 to Dec. 2023, the city spent $4,917,355.52 on paving.

DPW HVAC Spending Requests for City Buildings

Moretti aslo asked to add $15,000 to the $70,000 DPW submitted bid by Phalanx Engineering, 110 Byfield St., Warwick for HVAC systems as multiple city buildings, for a total of $85,000. The work would include HVAC systems at the Cooper Building, Animal Shelter, WFD Station 2,10, and 6, the Warwick Police station, and Senior Center.

“On Friday, I received 10 invoices from this vendor. And quotes for additional work, $50,000 in total,” Moretti said,  “I’m sure air conditioning season is not going to be kind to us.”

Responding to Councilor Jeremy Rix, who asked if the city spent more than budgeted, Moretti said, “We are not over budget, but we are exceeding the cap on the bid.”

Moretti also asked for an additional $15,000 on repairs to the HVAC systems at the Thayer and Warburton Arenas, for a total of $30,000, with the vendor, Environmental Systems, Inc., 2980 West Shore Road, Warwick, RI. She said the current invoices with the vendor are $15,132.48. “So I’d like to increase it by $15,000, knowing that we’re going to have service calls that we’re going to have to pay for.” Moretti said the city had just made a service call for a power outage affecting the rink that morning.

“There was a power outage and unfortunately, the rink was part of that. So when that haappens we have to have our compressors turned back on by this company,” Moretti said. Otherwise, she said, if the compressors are on during an outage, there’s a chance they’ll lose refrigerant from the system.

“More proactive than reactive,” Howe said.

“Yes,” Moretti agreed.

Ladouceur asked about repeated repairs of the compressors at the site, and whether the repairs are new or for previous breakdowns. Moretti said it’s a mixture of each. She said the equipment that replaced the previous outdated was not as good as the original, and that Environmental Systems, Inc. had kept the rinks running in situations where they should not have been able to.

“In my perspective, they’ve been amazing to us,” Moretti said, “As far as service and keeping our equipment running.”

Ladouceur asked what the cost would be to replace the equipment instead of continuing repairs. Moretti said there have been informal talks about replacing the equipment with a system that wouldn’t need maintenance for 10 years, but that it would be in the millions. “We don’t have that kind of money,” Moretti said.

Ladouceur suggested assigning some of the remaining APRA pandemic relief funding, “To fix this rascal once and for all.”

Remaining Warwick Lead Service Pipes Slated for replacement in 2024

The Council also heard from Water Division Chief Terry DePetrillo, who spoke about his department’s request for 200 water filter pitchers at $8,396 to provide a lead-free water source for homes that still have lead-service pipes when that service is replaced.

“We have, known, 167 and possibly another 58 that we’re still investigating,” DePetrillo said. “That being said, we’re in very good shape compared to other communities.” He said when he started 27 years ago, the city has 800 to 1,000 lead water service lines for homes, which the city has proactively replaced through the years. He said the city’s remaining lead service lines will be completed before the EPA deadline in October, with the work done by multiple contractors.

Answering a question from Gebhart, DePetrillo said there isn’t any danger to the residents using lead lines at the moment, but that it could be a problem as work to replace the lines occurs, which can dislodge lead from the lines and possibly get into the water supply as the work is done.


Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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