2012-05-26 / Editorials & Letters

It’s deja vu on storm sewer project


Construction has now started on the first phase of the Village of Buckeye Lake’s storm sewer upgrade. Work started by the fire station and motorists have been guided through the area by orange pylons.

Traffic moves slowly through the construction zone and it’s hard to miss an obvious issue – at least two of new catch basins are higher than the surrounding median and appear to be level with or slightly higher than the actual roadway.

I’m not an excavator or an engineer, but I’ve got to ask what do they expect to ‘catch’ with that. I finally got an opportunity to ask someone and was told there is an issue with the elevations, but a ‘fix’ would be installing “windows” in the side of the too-high catch basins. On the other hand, the catch basin set on the north side of the fire department driveway looks to be one to two feet below the surrounding grade. That seems to be quite a hazard.

I believe we’ve hired an excellent excavator and I assume the firm is following the specifications. So why do we have two or three too high and one too low catch basins out of the six or seven that have been installed so far. Are the plan drawings or elevations wrong? Who is overseeing this project for the village?

Council finally came to their senses and switched engineers after the repaving debacle. Oddly, the new engineer, Jobes Henderson & Associates of Newark, submitted the same $62,000 price that ME Companies had proposed. A Beacon editorial one year ago detailed how extravagant those engineering charges were. Jobes Henderson quoted $32,000 for the design phase which would represent almost six 40-hour weeks of a $135 per hour engineer. This isn’t a complicated job – replacing 3,688 linear feet of existing storm sewer and 22 catch basins with 26 new ones. Some how during those six full-time weeks for design engineering one would expect that the elevations be checked and rechecked.

Jobes Henderson also quoted $18,600 for construction administration which includes 250 hours of a field representative “during key parts of construction.” That’s more than six weeks of 40 hours per week field representative coverage. Has the field representative been on the job at all? Elevation of the catch basins and the sewer line itself are the most critical parts of this project. If they aren’t done right, then storm water won’t drain properly.

Haven’t we learned anything from our failure to closely oversee the water distribution system and repaving projects? The mayor doesn’t seem to be doing it, though he has been spotted a few blocks away painting the picket fence around his new commercial property. Our village charter gives him the authority to hire someone capable and qualified to watch over these critical projects. Why doesn’t he put someone in place who will actually look out for our interests? Just cut back on those field representative hours from Jobes Henderson and get someone who solely answers to the village.

We’ve got to stop dropping the ball when it comes to managing important projects and spending tax money wisely. Yes, most, but not all of the funding for these projects comes from grants. That still doesn’t relieve us from the responsibility of ensuring that money, which comes from somebody’s taxes, is spent properly.

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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