Enterprise City Council selected the lowest bidders to build the new sewage treatment plant and repair collection pipes at Monday's council meeting.

The council issued a "notice of intent" to award Michael Becker, general contractor, of La Grande, $5,164,308 to build a new plant next to the current one. Work could begin as soon as November and be completed late in 2008, according to City Administrator Michelle Young. "It's great to have a local contractor who will be using local people," she said.

Work on the collection pipes was awarded to Titan Technologies of Boise, which will also start this fall. The cost for this part of the project is $864,959.

Both were the lowest bidders out of those opened at Enterprise City Hall on Sept. 27.

Other bids tendered for the work included Williams Brothers Construction of Spokane, Wash., no bid on collections and $5,991,500 on the treatment plant; TEK Construction, Inc., no bid on collections and $6,582,807.67 on the treatment plant; Mike Becker Construction, $897,338 on collections.

The city is borrowing $7.7 million from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to help pay for the project and the Oregon Economic Development Department is providing a $500,000 grant to match a $500,000 loan from the department.

Current sewer fees are $41.50 a month and will increase $5 a month every six months, reaching a cap of $65 by 2009, Young said. The city is trying to spread the increases over time.

Groundwater leaking into the system has overwhelmed the current capabilities of the plant, forcing the city to fix the leaking pipes and build a new plant. The current plant is over 50 years old.

In other business, the council approved a request by Susan Roberts for a letter of support for the construction of a "Fountain of Honor" planned on the courthouse lawn. Still in the planning stages, the fountain will honor all veterans of the armed forces of the United States.

A request for $3,000 for the Wallowa Valley Ice Skating Rink from the city's hotel tax revenue was tabled since no one from the rink's committee attended the meeting, Young said.

The hotel tax committee reported to the council that it wants to see if there is a need to raise the hotel tax by two per cent, Young said. Currently, the city levies a three percent tax on motels while the county has a five percent tax, meaning hotels in the city charge a total of eight percent. Also, the committee told the council it plans to examine the process for giving grants from the tax income and devise standardized policies, she said.

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