Saginaw City Council Approves $7.2 Million Contract to Replace Lead Water Pipes

The Saginaw City Council held a special meeting Wednesday evening to approve a contract with Rohde Brothers Excavating Inc. for the replacement of lead service lines.

After removing it from the agenda at a meeting on July 20, Mayor Brenda Moore called the special meeting to discuss the contract more thoroughly after questions arose concerning a substantially cheaper bid from Martha Brown Custom Builders. The $4.6 million bid from Brown would have saved the city millions compared to the Rhode Brothers bid of over $7 million.

After hearing public comments, some of which alleged potential racism in the choice of contractor, the council opted to approve the contract with Rohde Brothers Excavating with a 6-1 vote. The one dissenting vote came from Council Member Michael Flores, who expressed his desire for the contract to go to a minority-owned business.

The city approved the contract as they were nearing the extended deadline of August 17. Had they missed that deadline, Saginaw would have lost a loan of over $4 million from the state’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.