Sewage plant in second phase

After discussing the $1 million contract for the construction management of the second phase of the wastewater treatment facility upgrade at the July 26 City Council meeting, Councilmembers continued their discussion Monday armed with the advice of a hired consultant.

On the recommendations of Dick Warren, an engineering consultant hired by Port Orchard Mayor Kim Abel, the Council decided against the original contract prepared by former City Engineer Larry Curles in favor of a contract that will provide engineering firm RH2 with an initial $400,000 to begin construction management. When RH2 has spent approximately $300,000, the contract will again be presented to the Council for review. The Council will then decide whether or not to award additional funds, a process some Councilmembers believe will rightfully keep expenditures in the hands of the City.

“I do think it’s a better resolution,” said Councilmember Rita DiIenno. “I appreciate Mayor Abel getting the independent review and recommendation. Mr. Warren gave us some options rather than a one-way solution.”

Warren was on hand at the meeting to brief the Council and answer Councilmembers’ questions.

“I will preface my comments by saying this is late in the game,” Warren said with regard to the Council decision to dig into the contract presented to them. “I really don’t have a lot of problems with the contract,” he added, prefacing the explanation of his memo evaluating the Council’s options.

The meat of the memo came as Warren wrote specific answers to questions posed by the Council:

“Could the City hire the key roles of project manager, contract administrator and contract observation?”

“I find it doubtful that you could find qualified people in a timely manner,” wrote Warren. “Had you elected to attempt this approach six months ago, it might have been possible, but at this point, it does not seem feasible.”

The City then asked in the memo, “Could the City solicit statements from other consultants to do all or part of the work estimated by RH2?”

“To follow this approach would involve several months’ delay, which could result in a higher cost for the proposed balanced clarifier,” Warren wrote. “Certainly the construction would have to be re-bid. As a practical matter, this approach is not in the City’s best interest. You would lose the knowledge and expertise you have paid for over the last 3-4 years.”

Warren recommended the City authorize $400,000 to RH2 at this time, as well as hiring an eventual project manager and making sure someone from the City was managing the project until a project manager could be hired.

“The reason we are digging so deeply is that we’re representing all the citizens of Port Orchard,” said Councilmember Ron Rider in response to concerns the City is dragging its feet.

Construction bids for the second phase of the wastewater treatment facility upgrade will be accepted until Monday, August 16 at 10 a.m.

“I was glad to hear that they’re moving forward with it, because if they hadn’t moved forward, it would have ended up costing extra dollars,” said Dick Fitzwater, general manager of Karcher Creek Sewer District who attended the meeting.

“As long as they keep moving, (the fiscal specifics of the contract) don’t really matter,” Fitzwater said.

Later in the meeting, DiIenno opened a discussion calling for more Council input while proposals are being drafted, rather than allowing committees to help draft proposals, bringing completed work to the City.

“The Council has relied heavily on what the staff brought forward as a solution,” said DiIenno Thursday afternoon. “My read is we’re moving to a new model. We want the committees to be the representatives, going out, getting information and then letting the whole Council know the options so we can give input.”

DiIenno said she recognizes the drawbacks of such a system, but is optimistic that in the long run, the Council will be more efficient.

“In the short term, yes, it takes a little more time to involve people in the thinking stage,” DiIenno said. “But in the long run, you don’t have a lot of debate about the suggested solution.”

Other Council Actions:

-- The Council voted unanimously to authorize Abel to sign a contract with an interim public works director/city engineer; a position paid no more than $60 an hour. It is projected the permanent position might be filled by mid-October.

-- The Council approved, on the consent agenda, the police officers’ union contract and designated Glynis Casey, a current associate planner for the city, as Shoreline Administrator until a new public works director/city engineer is hired. The Council also authorized Mayor Abel to sign an interlocal agreement with Kitsap County for building official services until an interim public works director is hired.

-- The Council unanimously approved a starting salary of between $55,000 and $75,000 for the newly created director of planning position, depending on qualifications and experience.

-- The Council voted unanimously without discussion to accept a bilateral compliance agreement to prepare the necessary water system plant document over the course of the next year, perhaps contracting the work to a consultant for $100,000.

-- Also without discussion, the Council voted unanimously to authorize Abel to sign the renewal Interlocal Urban County Agreement to Form Consortium under the National Affordable Housing Act.

-- Finally, the Council approved the City Hall Janitorial Service contract extension, extending E & J Janitorial for another twelve months, with the provision that the wages earned by employees must be up to prevailing wage, the standards of the law.

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