NORTH WEBSTER — Lakeland Regional Sewer District met for its annual monthly meeting Thursday night, Jan. 7, at the North Webster Community Center. Discussions centered around the progress of three contracted areas for the new sewer system around the Barbee chain, and the deductions and additions necessary to complete the $28 million project.Casey Erwin, project engineer for DLZ, brought good news to the board first thing. A change order was submitted to the board for approval, meaning a project plan had been altered slightly, saving the board a little more than $28,000. The board signed off with a quickness, but it brought up an important discussion on the timeliness of other potential change orders, three of which are pending per Erwin.
Erwin pointed out speed is an important factor in keeping the project going smoothly, and keeping costs low, and recommended the board authorize President Jim Haney to sign off on change orders in between the regular monthly meetings. Erwin noted the upcoming changes are: a deduction of up to $2,500, a change that could be at a cost of no more than $0 or a possible deduction and a change order that could cost up to $10,000.
The board decided to authorize signature on this change order as one piece, but if any of those estimated amounts exceeds expectation, the board can choose to sign one but not others. Essentially, this enables the board to make a decision at each meeting on a maximum dollar figure, approve a motion for Haney to sign, and get the process started as long as it is under that dollar figure.
The board also made progress on another important change — the ordinance that allows up to 90 additional hookups to utilize the contractors selected by the district, which will already be on site and prepared to do the work.
Andrew Boxberger, attorney for the district, made sure the public understands this is a voluntary decision to allow the hookups, and in no way mandated in the sewer project itself. The estimated cost for each additional hookup will be paid for solely by the homeowner if they choose to join. Property owners can also select their own contractors to do the work.
The board is working on composing letters to each homeowner, noting a total cost of $530 will be paid for engineering each design. Board member Parke Smith suggested the board send out two separate letters; one letter would go to homeowners who purchased property in the area only to discover the previous owner hadn’t signed on and one letter for those who refused to join the first several times it was presented but now want to hook up.
Board member Bob Sanders didn’t agree. He felt as if everyone should received the same letter. “We’re bending over backwards to help these guys,” said Sanders. He suggested the board leave the letter as is.
The district board decided to work on composing a finalized letter and added a deadline of Feb. 15 for submitting the money and request for the engineer’s plan. “Timing will be somewhat critical,” added Haney.
Unless the need for a special meeting is presented with proper notifications, the board plans to meet again at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4, at the NWCC.