2008-03-22 / News

Water contract with Millersport should be signed next week

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE- A signed contract is still at least a week away, but Buckeye Lake Village Council members are looking for things they can begin doing immediately after signing.

Council members anticipate signing a contract to purchase bulk water from the Village of Millersport March 24. Monday night, Buckeye Lake Village Council members met in a special session to discuss costs associated with designing a distribution system throughout the village.

The Village of Buckeye Lake was incorporated in 1980. Since then, it has a public sewer system, but no public water. Residents use private wells.

Kevin Wood, vice president of M•E Companies - the engineering firmdesigning the village's distribution system - sent an email to Buckeye Lake Mayor Frank Foster March 10 explaining the current status charges to the village from M•E Companies. According to the email, "(M•E Companies') original fee from the 2005 contract was $924,950. This included the well field, (proposed) water treatment plant, and water lines. We created the water line plans from the 1995 Sharp & Associates plans and submitted them to the (Ohio Public Works Commission) for funding. There is still much work to do on the water lines as we need to verify existing utilities, proposed location of the line, etc. Most all of the work that we have done since that time has been for non-design work related to the assessment, looking at various scenarios for water service, funding, etc. Through the February invoice (which we are just now preparing), we will have billed a total of $195,587.47 under this contract."

Wood continues, "Assuming that we are given the go ahead within the next month to proceed with design of the project, I have updated the fee in our original contract to remove the well field and the water treatment plant, add a booster station, and adjust the hourly rates to our current rates. I have also added construction staking to our fee. I had originally assumed that the contractor would perform this work, but I feel it is best to have the consultant do it in order to keep the water layout accurate.

"This makes the new fee from this point forward $738,850

"Therefore, the total adjusted fee for all work completed to date plus the new fee to complete the project (design work) moving forward is $934,450.

Council member Drew Bourne said M•E Companies' nearly failed to deliver a grant application to the Ohio EPA by a March 14 deadline. Wood acknowledged the deadline was nearly missed and apologized. The application was submitted with assistance from the village.

"This has been the exception, not the rule," said Mayor Frank Foster. He agreed the deadline was a concern, but other issues were handled promptly. Foster said M•E Companies has been extremely flexible about receiving payments from the village and the village, in turn, needs to show some flexibility toward M•E Companies. However, from this point forward, no deadlines can be missed.

"That won't happen again," said Wood.

Bourne said he wanted M•E Companies to present a construction schedule for the distribution system, which includes dates when Wood expects various phases of the project to be complete. Wood said such a timeline would benefit everyone.

Council President Charlene Hayden said it's "imperative" to complete a timeline. From the village's standpoint, "it's been wishy-washy up until now," regarding when construction of a distribution system could begin, but now things are under way.

Foster said various agencies are "knocking on our door" to help the village acquire public water, which is unusual for any village. He said it's important to have plans for the distribution system ready quickly so Buckeye Lake residents can know what's going to happen as soon as possible, and the village needs to survey residents soon to learn who wants water and who doesn't.

"There are several things we can get started on," said Wood, who suggested that village officials meet with the various Buckeye Lake homeowners associations individually.

Director of Development Valerie Hans said Wednesday that the village might be eligible for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to help residents pay tap fees. The village may also be eligible for $100,000 grant to help qualified residents pay hookup fees. "The more users we have on the system, the better off we'll be," she said. "Keep the bills low by signing up."

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