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Delayed project again discussed by village board

Upgrades needed at the water treatment plant and confusion regarding its funding were discussed during a meeting this week of the Fredonia Village Board.

Mike Manning, an engineer from Ramboll, attended Monday’s meeting to go through what exactly a $307,000 change order for the water treatment plant is being proposed in a tabled resolution.

“We need some very concrete things as to what it is we’re doing for additional engineering,” board member EvaDawn Bashaw said. “Forty-thousand to protect those two pipes and another $100,000 to protect those two pipes when the materials were already covered. And then there’s the contingency of $70,000, which is ‘Just in case,’ and we haven’t even yet talked about the $31,000 that someone’s wanting to charge us for a delay in the project.”

Bashaw noted that the delay that the village is being penalized for was influenced by several entities, including the pump station at Vineyard Drive and the city of Dunkirk.

“It was not done and therefore the project at the plant could not be completed,” Bashaw said. “We were waiting for parts on that; there were delivery issues, there were ordering issues, Dunkirk wasn’t able to hook up and now we’ve become liable for $31,000 delay in project which really wasn’t a whole lot and had very little to do with us. I really feel like we should get to those services and have them listed and have them identified before we encumber $307,000 out of our coiffers to determine what those are.”

Board member James Lynden agreed with Bashaw, stating, “It (the project) was pushed down the road when it was supposed to be completed by January. The added cost of somebody watching over the project when some filters were being done and these added costs for the $31,000 was presented in a way that it is part of the $307,000. So everything is vague and it’s like there’s ways of trying to present things just to build a village, it just keeps mounting and mounting.”

Lynden added that if the project had been done in the order it should have been done, the village could have then added things in a timely fashion as could be afforded.

“I just want to note that we’re working on a facility that parts of it are nearly 100 years old and the clarifier complex has never been taken out of service,” Manning said. “It was placed in service in 1967; with a situation like that things don’t work the way you want it to when you take it out of service and try to get it back up running again, things don’t work well.”

The removal of a window was one part of the project the board didn’t anticipate. The window, which was old, was removed as a way for the contractors to get the equipment torn out and replaced. It was however called into question with Bashaw wondering if it was approved for removal.

Mayor Doug Essek noted that it was the department heads’ opinions that the replacement of the window would be more cost efficient in the long run.

Overall, portions of the $307,000 are estimates and may not all be used as pointed out by Manning. According to him, COVID put a real damper on their ability to get the job done. Their contractor pulled out when the funding source dried up in the middle of the pandemic for a while.

“That in itself extended things out in the project and required additional work for us to get the money flowing again, get the contractor orchestrated so he could keep doing what he needed to be doing,” Manning said. “It was a totally unforeseen circumstance.”

The board is hoping to get a more detailed list of the costs associated with the increase and then will make a decision.

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