NORTH WEBSTER — The Lakeland Regional Sewer District board was once again led through a labyrinth of color-coded pay applications and change orders by DLZ Project Engineer Casey Erwin at Thursday evening’s regular monthly meeting in the North Webster Community Center.
According to Erwin, the nearly $29 million project is roughly 85 percent complete, and the board voted to approve an aggregate pay application of $1,064,791.51, execution of substantial completion and the signing of Guide Five, a USDA checklist. Erwin also informed the board there are “still items we’re chasing,” and he will circulate emails as necessary. The board, he said, should expect “multiple meetings in December.”
Selge Construction’s project A, primarily consisting of the installation of grinder stations and main lines is 70 percent complete. Erwin expects completion in January. The payout of $472,593 to Selge includes a portion for new connections. “Homeowners are a part of that $472,000,” he commented.
Input from property owners allowed Selge to optimize grinder station placement in project B, around Coon Lake, and Erwin estimated a savings of around $103,000 under the projected cost. The board approved a pay application of $207,868. Erwin expects the project to be completed Tuesday, Oct. 11, though there are several punch list items remaining, such as reseeding, grass patches, and stone restoration.
A pre-final inspection meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11, provided the system is functional, to plan a completion schedule for punch list items. All testing results, drawings, inspection reports and other items will be turned over to the district at that time.
Advanced Rehab Technology is 88 percent finished with project C and the board approved a payout of $264,208, as well as a $11,000 change order for KREMC to extend a 3-inch gas main.
The wastewater treatment plant project is 90 percent complete, with apparatuses installed and most gradings done along with preparations for the asphalt. The administration building is also nearly finished.
The board had a change of heart in relation to Crane, the manufacturer of the roughly 220 grinder stations. Many were defective, but were able to be fixed using airbags. However, 18 were not repaired with this or another method, much to the board’s frustration. Edward Dunn, a Crane sales representative, was on hand to demonstrate how a bracket would be attached to the basins, the third reparation. Treasurer Mike DeWald admitted he had come to the meeting prepared to reject Crane’s fix, but after hearing it would be covered by the 20 year warranty and a field crew would inspect the basins for three years, he, and the other members relented. Erwin was also in favor of the fix and commented there were no problems with Rural Development. A motion to accept Crane’s reparation passed.
Erwin also apologized for not submitting a DLZ proposal for tap inspections sooner. He expects it to be in by Friday, Oct. 14. Charlie Baker, a local, independent subcontractor, also expressed a desire to do some, though not all, of the inspections, JPR as well.
A motion was also passed to complete an application for locations for utilities. Some board members expressed the importance of gathering GPS information for future use.
Much of the end of the meeting was dedicated to discussion to the possibility of state and federal audits, and the importance of having internal controls in place, showing, said Bob Sanders, “how we operate our organization.” Sanders recommended consulting with other districts to make sure LRSD is covered in the event of an audit. District counsel, Andy Boxberger, suggested the standardized form be completed before the end of the year. There are online workshops members need to take, said Boxberger, related to the form, which show, he said, “How to do it and how to implement it.” It was not clear how often the district can expect to be audited and to what extent.
Internal controls is one of many issues the district will have to tackle when construction is completed.
A motion passed to accept USI Cincinnati’s contract of $4,981 to provide insurance. DeWald was impressed the Fort Wayne company dealt with the board representatives in person and “got down to finite dollars.”
DeWald reported the district has “fully drawn loan funds” and is now using funds from a United States Department of Agriculture grant.
During treasurer’s reports Jennifer Ransbottom of JPR informed the board collections have remained steady at around $23,724 per month for seven or eight months. DeWald expressed surprise at the low number of insufficient funds checks, to which Ransbottom replied they seem to go in cycles. She also reported a low number of lien filings.
Payouts to Carson Boxberger for $12,270 and DLZ, $1,905 were among the bills approved by the board.