Wichita City Council OKs $500 million water plant contract
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council has awarded a $500 million contract for the city’s new water treatment plant to a group that includes two companies that spent thousands of dollars on former Mayor Jeff Longwell, who then pushed the city to award them the contract.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to give the largest single contract in the city’s history to Wichita Water Partners. The relationship between Longwell and the two companies included in Wichita Water Partners became an issue in this year’s mayoral race, which Longwell lost.
Council members said they didn’t want to risk losing federal funding for the project and they weren’t sure if any other companies would bid on the project, The Wichita Eagle reported.
A report from the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office in October found that Professional Engineering Consultants and Wildcat Constructions, along with its parent company, spent more than $3,500 on golf outings and meals for Longwell in the past three years. Both of those companies have substantial roles on the Wichita Water Partners team.
The plant will replace the city’s 80-year-old water plant, which officials have said is in danger of failing. It is expected to be completed by Sept. 17, 2024.