LTCP project should start in ’13

A fund dealing with the initial costs for city’s costliest sewer project in history is healthy as it is expected to top $1 million in 2013, a Wapakoneta City Council committee chair says.

Foresight in establishing the fund to help cover the costs of replacing the south interceptor, or the sanitary and stormwater sewer line along the south side of the Auglaize River from Water Street to the Wapakoneta Wastewater Treatment Plant, is paying dividends now in helping the project proceed smoothly, 3rd Ward Councilor Bonnie Wurst said after chairing Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting.

The Long-Term Control Plan Fund, established with a special fee on city utility bills a couple of years ago with residents paying $20 and industry paying $80, is being used to pay for the project including upfront engineering costs instead of rolling those costs into the price of the project.

“The Long-Term Control Plan project is proceeding nicely,” Wurst said, noting engineering costs for the project which includes design and drawings as well as negotiations with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency totaled $452,323 in 2012. “They are getting ready to put out bids for a pump station and equalization basin to be constructed at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and for the initial stages of the sewer line.”

Wurst, who commended Utilities Committee members for their foresight in creating the fund after EPA directives and before actual construction costs started, explained with the fund paying for upfront engineering costs, those expenses would not have to be included as part of the construction phase of the project — thus increasing the loan for the project and increasing interest payments.

The city is working with CH2M Hill on the project.

The project, which is to reduce the average combined sewer overflow into the Auglaize River to fewer than three events, initially was estimated to cost $30 million. With material costs stabilizing and the economy still fighting a recession, Mayor Rodney Metz and Safety-Service Director Bill Rains have received updated engineer’s estimates of approximately $20 million.

City administrators intend to have bids submitted and a contract awarded in March for the first phase of construction, with the initial construction to begin in April. City administrators then plan to bid the remaining portion of the project in October with construction to take place in 2014.

“In regard to the Long-Term Control Plan, we are satisfied with the way it is progressing at this point,” Wurst said. “Residents should be able to see the project start with dirt being moved and the construction project moving forward, while only on city project, this spring.”