With longtime Portland Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) Superintendent, Doug Sherman planning to retire early next year, Portland City Manager, Tutt Gorman, wanted to explore high quality options and alternatives for managing the operations of the WWTP, rather than attempt the almost daunting task of finding an individual replacement for Mr. Sherman. For more than a year, Gorman has carefully reviewed the WWTP’s current operations and weighed various options. First and foremost, Gorman declared, “The safe and reliable operations of our WWTP is critical to protecting public health and our environment.”
The City conducted a bidding process and has selected Fleis and Vandenbrink Operations (FVOP) of Grand Rapids. Gorman recently told The Beacon, “By contracting with F&V, a community our size will have access to resources that it would otherwise not have in-house.”
Portland will now have the benefit of having F&V’s highly specialized team that is currently or has recently operated similar sized WWTP systems, such as Big Rapids, Dowagiac, and Dexter. All three of these cities WWTP projects have mixtures of City staff and FVOP staff working together. Dowagiac is the most similar to Portland’s size and system.
The Portland City Council is scheduled to give final approval to City Manager Gorman’s recommendation to award the WWTP managerial operations contract to F&V Operations for an annual fee of $113,680.00, as provided in their proposal and professional services agreement, at its regularly scheduled City Commission Meeting on Monday, November 19, at 7:00 PM.
Gorman is very pleased with the outcome of this process, “We will get a lot of bang for our buck, but the “bottom-line” was not the primary driver. We wanted the best for our residents if we could make it work. The WWTP is receiving substantially more resources and added value that will translate into additional cost savings in the future. We worked hard to make it work within close range the existing operating budget. This strengthens Portland.”