By Ray King

During a special called meeting Friday afternoon, the Pine Bluff City Council voted to waive competitive bidding and hire a company to replace an electrical feeder line that provides power to city hall.

The council’s Ways and Means Committee met Friday morning and recommended that the ordinance be approved.

According to the proposed ordinance, it was discovered on Feb. 22 that city hall was not getting electrical power which was attributed to the snowstorm and record low temperatures.

A temporary fix was made to restore power to the building, but the ordinance says the fix could faulter at any time and immediate repairs need to be done to prevent interruption to city operations.

Evers Electric Company, which has offices in Pine Bluff and El Dorado was contacted and they determined that the electrical feeder line which runs from the transformer vault on the west side of the building underground to the basement of city hall was damaged and had to be replaced.

O fix the problem, Mayor Shirley Washington said Evers would be boring a hole approximately 400 feet around the building  which would run under one sidewalk and one set of stairs. She said the original cable had been in the ground since the civic center complex was built in the 1960’sand had not been placed in conduit to protect the line from the elements.

The new line would actually be sets of aluminum wires and placed in conduit piping. Washington said only one other Pine Bluff company would have the necessary equipment and training to do the job and a representative of that company was not able to give the city a price quote.

A representative of Evers submitted a quote of $43,827 which would include boring the hole and supplying the cables. Washington said the company will start boring the 4-inch hole Monday when equipment currently in Louisiana arrives, then installing the electrical line on a weekend when city hall is closed and the electricity can be shut off to the building.