Wilco Sun: Novak Commercial Construction Awarded Contract for The City of Georgetown’s Transfer Station

Transfer Station Sketch

By Brigid Cooley – Georgetown is set to have a new solid waste transfer station by the summer of 2024, addressing city trash demands for the next 30 years. City Council unanimously approved a $13.5 million contract with Novak Commercial Construction during its Tuesday, February 28, meeting to construct the new station. Novak was one of two groups to bid on the project. This is the second time a contract for the new transfer station has come before council. Last September, the city received only one bid from interested contractors — sent in by Novak — for the project. Council members at the time instructed staff to re-bid in hopes of receiving more bid options that were less expensive.

Project Background

Located at 250 W.L. Walden Drive, the city’s existing transfer station is used to consolidate collected waste off of smaller garbage trucks and into larger trailers for transportation out of the city, said Jennifer Bettiol, the city’s Capital Improvement Plan manager. The facility has served the community since the 1980s. The most recent upgrades took place in the early 2000s. The facility is used by Texas Disposal Services, the company that offers waste pickup in Georgetown and its surrounding areas. As it stands now, the site is out of compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requirements. Its waste storm water management and the presence of open waste areas can cause issues when there are heavy rains. The facility also struggles keeping up with the city’s growth, Ms. Bettiol said.

“As with the growth of the city of Georgetown, we are reaching capacity and needing improvements,” she said. “We promised improvements to TCEQ in 2018.” If the city continued using the existing transfer station as is, it would likely reach and exceed its hourly permitted capacity by 2028, Ms. Bettiol said. This would result in increased operational costs and incoming and outgoing trucks having to wait longer at the station. In 2022, city staff determined the most long-lasting and cost effective option would be constructing a new transfer station with the capacity to serve Georgetown for more than 30 years in the future, Ms. Bettiol said.

Second Bidding Process Leads to Contract

For the second time, the new transfer station project was put up for a four week competitive bid process on January 5. The city received two proposals — one from Novak and the second from Greystone Construction. After a review in which Ms. Bettiol said she called every reference listed for both companies, city staff determined Novak was the best option for the project. “One of the things that was very encouraging for us was that they understood it would be necessary to have daily communications with the transfer station operation,” Ms. Bettiol said.

“A requirement of this project is that the transfer station maintains operation and, in order for that to occur, these communications are critical.” The contract has a price tag of $13.5 million, which is less than the company’s original $13.9 million bid received last year. The project is being funded through 2019 certificates of obligation, as well as the issuance of a $5 million bond expected in fiscal year 2024.

The construction timeline is set at 471 days, meaning the station should open during the summer of 2024. “Rebidding a project is never a fun experience and I’m sure it was a lot of work for city staff and I’m sure it was a lot of work for the general contractors who bid and rebid it,” District 6 Council Member Jake French said Tuesday. “But I do feel like we did the right thing for the taxpayers in this case and I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”