Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014, 9:47 pm

RI OKs sewer work despite wage questions

Comment on this story

By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com
Charles Knudsen, manager of Mama Compton's restaurant in the Rock Island District, sets up for the lunch rush Monday, August 11, 2014. The Rock Island City Council voted >>>>>>>>add info here.
ROCK ISLAND -- City council members on Monday approved a $10.6 million sewer improvement project.

Aldermen voted 6-1 in favor of the low bid from Brandt Construction, of Milan, for the project that will lay new sewer pipes in the 6th Avenue area. Ald. PJ Foley, 3rd Ward, voted against awarding the bid to Brandt but did not explain his decision.

The project is part of a $70 million sewer system improvement plan that includes expanding the Mill Street Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Funding for the 6th Avenue project will come, in part, from an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan that must be secured before the contract can be awarded. A grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity also is expected to provide funding, according to city documents.

Before the vote, Michael Siciliano, of the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, said he had concerns about a previous Brandt project where, he alleged, Brandt used trucking subcontractors that did not pay prevailing wages.

Prevailing wage rates, set by the state, are required for public projects. Mr. Siciliano alleged the subcontractors paid far less than the required rate. He said he wanted to protest awarding a new bid to Brandt until the previous situation was resolved.

No Brandt officials spoke at the meeting, and Ald. Steve Tollenaer, 4th Ward, said it was important to make clear that Mr. Siciliano's claims were unproven.

Randy Tweet, the city's public works director, said he could not comment on the previous project but had received assurances from Brandt that it would not use trucking subcontractors on the sewer project.

Also on Monday, the council unanimously agreed to pay $250,000 to Steel Warehouse, 4305 81st Ave. West, which wants to add 1,600 feet of new railroad track and two rail switches to help bring steel to its plant. The city money would go toward the project's $553,000 total and help retain 70 jobs at the plant, according to city officials.

The council also unanimously approved awarding a liquor license to the owners of Mama Comptons at 1725 2nd Ave. The restaurant, which has not had a liquor license for more than 12 months, plans to offer craft beers to its customers.