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Manchester water district withholds $125K from county

The Manchester Water District Commissioners cast a majority vote Tuesday night to withhold payment of $123,544.88 the district owes to Kitsap County Public Works for cost overruns on the Curley Creek Bridge replacement project.

As part of their interlocal agreement, Kitsap County and the Manchester Water District originally agreed on a bid price of $56,119.05 for the project with Quigg Brothers Construction. But there were several unforeseen costs associated with the project once Quigg began work on the bridge replacement, said Kitsap County Construction Manager Jacques Dean, who was extensively involved in the bridge replacement.

“There were abandoned water lines, elevation differentials that were different from those shown in the original plans,” Dean said. “The plans showed the elevation of the existing water line wasn't really that way once Quigg got on the ground. The elevation line was different.”

Manchester Water District Commissioner Kyle Galpin said at the meeting that he felt the district owed the county at least the original bid price of the project and was cautious about completely refusing to give the county any money for the project.

“If any penalties are assessed based on late payment, I don't want it to be on what we originally agreed to,” Galpin said. “We can certainly argue any late fees on overage later, but we knew it was going to be $56,119.05 and we might as well release it.”

Water District Commissioner James Strode said that he is against paying any amount of money to the county for the project until the district commissioners have an official meeting discussing the cost overruns with Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido on Oct. 4.

“I am not going to say we are going to pay the whole bill,” he said. “I think that sending a check to the county is a waste of time. I don't want to pay them anything. We can always call a special meeting after the Garrido meeting if we decide to pay the county then, but I don't want to pay them because we haven't talked to her.”

Commissioner Steve Pedersen agreed with Strode that waiting to meet with Garrido before paying any money out for the project is the better option for the Manchester Water District.

“I think the fact that this board pays any amount of money at this point until the entire matter is resolved is moving a little quicker than I want to do,” Pendersen said.

Manchester Water District's payment to Kitsap County Public Works is due on Sept. 31.

Commissioner Galpin introduced a motion to pay the original bid price of $56,119.05 for the Curley Creek Bridge Replacement project and commissioners Strode and Pedersen allowed the motion to terminate. After the Manchester Water District studied the costs of replacing the water main and appurtenances associated with the Curley Creek Bridge replacement project, it offered the county $85,814.29 but the county didn't respond to the offer.

Galpin said that higher water prices may come to Manchester citizens because of the money the district owes to the county and added that he is concerned about future projects.

“We may expect increases to rate payers,” Galpin said. “We'd like to avoid it, but it's the reality."

Every time there is a project, we have to move our stuff—service lines, meters and fire hydrants. It makes me concerned because we've been through the Mile Hill project, the Harper project where we suffered a considerable expense to move our infrastructure. We need a $200,000 steel water storage tank.”

According to section 4.2 of Manchester Water District's July 2012 minutes, Commissioner Pedersen requested that the district draft a newsletter publicizing the costs of county projects to Manchester rate payers.

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