NORTH WEBSTER — For many of those involved in the $28 million sewer project around the Barbee chain of lakes, a 50 percent completion notice is a breath of fresh air.
Lakeland Regional Sewer District board met for its regular monthly meeting Thursday evening, April 8, at the North Webster Community Center to discuss completion numbers, change orders and a couple of large dollar figures.
The board heard updates from DLZ’s project engineer, Casey Erwin, who listed completion rates for each of the district’s contracted zones. Contracts A and C are hovering at around 30 percent completion, while the wastewater treatment plant is about 40 percent done. Contract B is the closest to completion at 72 percent. The substantial completion date is still set for December of this year.
Erwin noted the wastewater treatment plant is running a little more than $30,000 under budget. This may have come as a small consolation once Erwin addressed the board on some larger changes. Contract C, through Advanced Rehab Technologies, had a couple of changes that meant a $12,500 increase in costs. The contracted company had to run an extra 160 feet of pipe and drill under two channels, an unexpected cost. The company agreed to absorb some of the costs, leaving a smaller bill for the district. The board agreed to pay the application.
The board also discussed upcoming change orders that could come up allowing new customers to hook up to the district pending approval of payment in full to the district. During the past few meetings, the board executed a plan to allow new hookups to begin while the project is still underway. Those hookups are at full cost to the customer, but a change order comes through after that customer pays the district and the contractor has to change plans to do the work.
Erwin noted these contractors need to know in a timely manner whether their work orders are going to be changed, so he was looking for a maximum approval amount that could be signed off by board president Jim Haney at any time those changes came through. The board agreed this would be a beneficial decision.
Erwin also brought before the board a change order totaling more than $44,000. He admitted he hadn’t had much time to look over all the details, but noted it included many various items such as electrical work and harmonic mixers to prevent energy spike back flow into other equipment. Erwin was told he needed an answer on all changes by April 22, but board member Bob Sanders questioned the necessity.
“Why do we have to react so quickly?,” asked Sanders. He suggested allowing Erwin time to more thoroughly study the detailed plan and give the board a suggestion. Board member Parke Smith agreed, adding Erwin should find out why the time crunch is necessary, or if it is at all. Smith and Sanders suggested the board hold a special meeting if need be to make the decision by the set date of April 22.
JPR representative Jennifer Ransbottom brought before the board the looming expense of filing 42 property liens. Ransbottom noted each of those properties had been sent 120-day past due notices along with pre-lien letters. The time had passed for those bills to be paid without liens, and only a handful did so. She noted some familiar property owners were refusing to sign for the certified letters, or sending them back after writing “deceased” on the envelopes.
The board gave Ransbottom the approval to begin the lien process on those properties at a cost of more than $5,000 to the district. That money will be recouped eventually, once bills are paid or liens are paid.
In total, the board approved $21,317.17 in monthly expenses and approved five different pay applications through the various contractors.
The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at the North Webster Community Center.