By Deb Patterson
WARSAW — Discussions on several topics was the order of business for the board of the Lakeland Regional Sewer District Wednesday, Sept. 15, at the district’s office.
More specifically the discussions focused on waiving a late payment penalty, repair or purchase new grinder pumps, warranty of the grinder pumps and how the engineering firm missed an incorrect installation that has resulted in a breach of contract.
The request to waive the late payment penalty for Lake Estates was tabled until the October meeting, requiring the customer to show proof the payment was sent prior to the due date. Jim Haney, board president, stated he had been in communication with Lake Estate officials regarding assessment of late fees for the Aug. 31 bill.
Haney explained he has been told a check was written Aug. 26 as Lake Estates had suspended its automatic payment due to a change in banking information. Because they had not paid by check for several years it was mailed to the wrong agency. The Sept. 13 payment appeared to be via credit card after the error was noticed.
Haney further stated routinely the district assesses late fees to 8% of its customers. “If we wave this one, we stand the risk of 8% lined up to rescind their late fees.”
Mike DeWald, board treasurer, said he saw a photographic copy of the check, but he did not see when it was written. An official of Lake Estates was asked to be at the meeting, but was not present.
Parke Smith, board secretary, felt it was a unique scenario and felt if it could be documented by Lake Estates, he felt the board should waive the fee due to extenuating circumstances. But he stressed the need for documented proof.
Smith made the motion to table the matter until the October meeting. While the motion carried, Haney was the lone member opposing.
The warranty status of grinder pumps was another point of discussion. Don Neff, Atsbury system supervisor, reported 18 pumps are in need of repair or replacement with Gasvoda, Ill., the pump provider, fighting the district on the warranty. The company is claiming only one pump is under warranty. Neff, and members of the board, believe the warranty went into effect at startup, not before. An answer and explanation is being sought.
Neff stated he took three of the pumps to Reed Electric in Warsaw, to be evaluated at a cost of $30 each. He found it would cost $1,400 to $2,000 to repair and could take up to a month. A new pump runs approximately $2,400 and could be received in two weeks. Neff requested to purchase new pumps from American Pump, Indianapolis. He stressed if it takes a month to repair the pumps, “I’ll be hurting. We’ll have no pumps.”
Neff was given the authority to purchase five to six new pumps from American Pump not to exceed $2,500 each plus freight and to send the four units out of warranty to Reed Electric for repair at a price not to exceed $2,000 each.
A question of the attorney’s billing fee on a matter relating to a breach of contract issue resulted in Casey Erwin, DLZ engineer, explaining the actions of his company during construction. The question raised was how this error was missed during inspection. Erwin provided the agreement that stated they would observe, not inspect. He noted he reviewed all communication with the contractor during the project and the issue in question was never discussed.
It appears the issue is where a grinder pump and lateral line were not installed properly and the contractor deviated from the plan. A letter will be sent to the contractor specifying the breach of contract.
During other business it was noted the Lakes Estates generator is expected in October and the homeowner on EMS B48A Lane, has agreed to a 10-inch riser which will be purchased. There is a new home on B40 Lane where the 12-inch riser will be used.
Letters to property owners regarding maintaining electrical service were mailed Wednesday with the fats/oils/greases letter to be sent out in a couple of weeks.
The board will meet again at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20.