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Wastewater project costs increase in Evansville

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GINA R. HEINE
July 16, 2009
— Improvements to Evansville’s wastewater treatment facility are in limbo after costs jumped from an estimated $4.25 million to $7.2 million.

The project was estimated at $4.25 million when it was put out for bids this spring, but bids came in higher than expected last month, City Administrator Dan Wietecha said.


No bids have been awarded, but the city council Tuesday night approved a budget amendment that would enable signing contracts.


“But I suspect that there will be some things that the public works committee and engineer need to discuss in terms of does it make sense?” Wietecha said. “It probably does, but if we proceed with the project at this price level (we want to ensure) that it really is the right decision.”


Upgrades are needed to comply with state Department of Natural Resources nitrate standards, he said.


“We really don’t have a lot of options, we have to do something,” he said.


The city expects to hear by the end of summer if its application for stimulus money will be a winner. That would pay 50 percent of the construction costs.


C.D. Smith Construction of Fond du Lac came in with the lowest bid at $5.79 million.


City Engineer Dave Sauer predicted bids to come in near $5 million because of additions to the project and feedback from contractors throughout the bid process, Wietecha said.


Additional costs outside of the bid continue to be more than expected, he said.


“Every time we talk to someone it’s, ‘geez, the price just went up again,’” he said.


The $7.2 million price tag includes a $580,000 contingency fund, he said. The remainder of the project costs are overhead expenses—legal, financial, bond counsel and interim costs for interest during construction.


“It adds up to a much different number than anybody wanted,” he said.



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