Toledo: First financial “ding” on Siletz River water intake project – Taking on a $10 million project in tiny little bites – A muni pool update
First “change order” right off the top
Toledo City Councilors got some less than welcome news Tuesday evening – a financial “ding” for a late start on the town’s new Siletz Water Intake facility. It’s a $22,000 add-on charge from the contractor for what amounts to a delayed start to the project, through no fault of the city. Councilors say they couldn’t give the green light for construction until federal agencies issued the permit to move ahead, which they eventually did but many weeks beyond what was expected. “We’re overworked,” was their excuse. So Toledo has to come up with an extra $22,000 for having equipment sitting idle that could have been making the contractor money elsewhere.
To get the grants you gotta have a plan
Toledo councilors got an update from Public Works Director Marc Howatt on how to bring the city’s sewer and waste water system into the 21st century. Howatt’s lament is one that echoes across the country in big towns and small, that America did not properly invest in its sewer and water distribution systems and now the cost of Toledo bringing their’s back up to snuff is crushing. Ten million dollars according to Howatt.
Howatt said a town as small as Toledo cannot be expected to raise ten million dollars without winning some government grants along the way. But he quickly added that those grants won’t come unless Toledo has a rock solid plan on how those moneys would be spent. Howatt said the town indeed has a plan and asked the council to adopt it at their September 8th meeting. Once adopted and reviewed by the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Toledo can join in the hunt for federal and state dollars to begin repairing and upgrading its wastewater and stormwater lines.
Howatt said the biggest problem facing Toledo is infiltration of rainwater into the main sewer lines. During downpours the Toledo sewer plant frequently spikes to two to three times its normal inflows with less than pleasant results. Howatt said that state DEQ is not happy about it and will eventually start slapping fines on Toledo for dumping less than fully treated effluent into local waterways – a situation that is common among many cities and towns in the western third of the state.
Again the council is likely to approve the city’s long term wastewater master plan in early September and then set about trying to find the money to get the work done.
Trying to find a way to affordably keep the Toledo Pool open
Toledo’s Recreation and Aquatics Director Joe Andrews gave the council a quick update on efforts to ascertain what it will take to keep the Toledo Pool open despite its age. The facility is a hometown favorite of families, their kids including senior citizens who use it to remain viable and strong even into their advancing years. Andrews told the council that some initial investigating of the pool’s infrastructure raised more questions than answers so he again thanked the council for authorizing a more comprehensive evaluation to be performed. Andrews said a final report on the pool’s condition will be ready for council review by early October.