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Altamont trustee cautions contingency usage

Village board OKs Wastewater Treatment Plant project change orders

— Trustee William Aylward expressed concern about again tapping contingency funds allocated for the wastewater treatment plant improvement project at a Tuesday, March 5, meeting, but other village officials argued the move to be responsible budgeting.

The Altamont Board of Trustees Tuesday authorized two change orders totaling nearly $18,400 for the $3.5 million capital improvement project, which includes installing new equipment. Board members awarded project contracts in May 2012 after the Department of Environmental Conservation mandated the improvements following a 2010 order of consent citing the village for overflow of untreated sewage during weather-related, high water events.

In the end, the change orders were unanimously approved, but Aylward first questioned why the first change order presented included allocating funds for additional concrete and grout demolition at the tertiary filters.

“Would that not be part of the original plan?” Aylward asked.

Jason Ballard, project engineer from Barton & Loguidice, said the additional demolition couldn’t be foreseen because engineers only had plans from when it was first built in the 1950s. Ballard added the filters weren’t drained until work began to avoid interrupting operations.

“It was an unforeseen condition,” Ballard said. “When we drained it and started looking at the filter we realized we had to remove that.”

After approving $16,700 of contingency allowance, there is $5,345 remaining in the contract budget.

“My concern is we are using up contingency funds rather rapidly,” Aylward said. “I am concerned we are going to end up with a change order for $100,000.”

Ballard said he doesn’t see that happening, but there could be further change orders brought to the board.

“When you keep digging, there is stuff unforeseen,” Ballard said. “We are going faster with our contract than we are with our contingency.

The second change order allowed tapping $1,697 in contingency funds to include electrical grounding of a panel in the existing tertiary filter building. There is $2,000 of contingency funds remaining for that project.

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