A second round of bidding brought back prices higher than when the jobs were put out before, which will likely force a choice for the City of Cedartown: what project to work on next?

City manager Bill Fann said last week before the city commission’s meeting held on Jan. 9 that the bids for much needed sewer improvements and the Lankford Events Center both came back higher than when they were bidded out before, and with less contractors providing cost estimates for the work.

“It’s worse than it was when we opened them the first time,” Fann said.

The budget the city had set aside for sewer work was no higher than $850,000, with $500,000 of those costs being covered by a Community Development Block Grant for the project.

The project - which is set to replace 6,000 linear feat of sewer line in the residential area south of Goodyear Park near Cedar Creek — already has the funds in place from the grant after it was received in the fall of 2015, and Cedartown officials have simply been waiting for movement forward with the bids.

The lowest price sent in by contractors the first time around, Fann said, was a $1,149,000. When they opened bids in late December for the job, the pricetag had gone up to $1,249,000.

The same thing happened for the bids with the Lankford Events Center.

The project to bear the name of Jim and Jean Lankford across from the Cedartown Depot and Welcome Center on South Main Street is set to be the new big events space in Cedartown, with the idea in mind that the 4,200 square-foot facility will play host to a large variety of community gatherings, annual events and private functions.

After making some changes to the plans after bids came in at $1,905,000, Fann figured that with changes in materials and finishes throughout the structure that costs would be brought down.

Not so, with the second round of bidding bringing the lowest price at $2,164,000.

That’s well over the budgeted cost of $1,650,000 the city set aside for the work.

“I was pretty much told, ‘hey look, there’s plenty of work out there,’” Fann said. “So with two stadiums, and 13 high rises going up in Atlanta right now, every contractor worth having has got plenty of work to do.”

That puts the city into a difficult bind of wanting to do both projects at the same time, but choosing which is more important.

Fann said he felt it likely that the less costly of the projects will get attention first.

“If you just use the financial perspective, the sewer project would make the most sense, because it’s the least amount of difference in the price versus what we had budgeted, and the lower costing of the projects. Plus there’s 50 percent of the total cost already covered by grants,” he said.

“Obviously we believe both are very important to us, one from an economic development and tourism standpoint, and whether we’re able to have a facility to accomodate more people than what we have available in the area currently, and the other for the simple fact that people in that neighborhood need their sewer lines in working order.”

Fann added that he will be discussing the issue with both commissioners and the Lankford family about the projects to decide which to tackle first, and which will have to wait until more funds become available.

Demolition on the property for the Lankford Events Center was completed last summer to clear the space and have it ready for contractors when they came on site.