Negotiations with a consulting firm to assist with sewage treatment plant repairs were ended after failing to reach an agreement.

The city will now start talks with the second applicant of choice.

Aldermen earlier this month approved a measure for the city administrator to negotiate with an engineering firm to provide the services.

City Administrator Steve Roth, Public Works Commissioner Robert Brueggemann and Flood Manager Dan Rahn met with four firms that had responded to a request for qualification (RFQ) to provide wastewater engineering services and asked aldermen to approve their choice of Burns & McDonnell for the work.

At that meeting, Alderman Mike Pigg voiced concerns about how the city would evaluate the cost the chosen firm would charge for the work.

Roth said the committee used the qualifications-based selection (QBS) process of selecting the consultant, which prohibits cost comparison.

He also said cost would become a factor when the city began to negotiate with the chosen firm.

Speaking at the Aug. 15 board of alderman meeting, Roth said he had started negotiations with Burns & McDonnell for the wastewater treatment facility project, but could not reach an agreement.

“I’m asking for approval to begin negotiations with the second choice,” he said.

City Attorney Robert Jones said the approval was needed because the city could not negotiate with two firms at the same time.

Roth also said he expected negotiations to go quickly because it was important to begin the work on the wastewater system in a timely manner.

The city had applied to FEMA for reimbursement of $1,292,117 to repair damage to the sewer system suffered in the 2015 flood. FEMA initially denied the application, but following an appeal from the city, FEMA reinstated the funding.

Following the reinstatement, the city advertised for requests for qualification (RFQs) for engineering firms to act as consultants on the repair work.

Roth said he hopes to bring a contract for the board’s consideration at the next meeting Sept. 5.