More from Monday's City Council meeting
Augusta City Council members were asked at Monday’s council meeting to consider authorization to proceed with the South Ohio Project’s “force account” process with the utility contractor and KDOT and implement a funding plan to complete improvements to sewer utilities and service lines.
The scope of the South Ohio Street Project has evolved the past few years and City Manager Josh Shaw reminded Council that originally, by way of the federal fund exchange program, the City was going to be responsible for administering the project construction and KDOT’s contribution was to be purely financial. However, the project has become a hybrid where a lot of the benefits of local control have been removed and supplanted with state oversight and regulations.
“This city street project became a KDOT project and is administered and regulated like a KDOT project,” Shaw continued, “Beyond administration of the project, the actual scope has evolved as well...the City’s strategy has shifted focus to upgrading and repairing underground utilities. Adding this has added a tremendous amount of complexity to the project.”
The project has brought to line the fact that the sewer service lines need improvement.
“Some of the lines aren’t in the best of shape and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put down these services and not make sure the infrastructure is good. We have run into a lot of novel issues and conflicts...It is hard to prepare a traditional change order and this ‘force account’ is a way to move forward,” said Shaw.
City Engineer Chuck May and City Inspector Anthony Craft were present at the meeting to discuss the issue of the sewer lines.
“It’s been interesting. At one location, we found the sewer line making a circular path around a building, some lines on the map were found a block away and some lines, we have no idea where we’ll find those,” said May.
The lines are crumbling clay pipes and various sizes joining up to each other, creating considerable concern and headaches.
“I want to commend the Water Department and the tremendous job they are doing in finding ways to shut down lines and keep service going for the residents. We are getting the issues resolved,” Shaw added, “The progress is slow. There have been delays and challenges. We’re working with lines that have been underground for over 67 years.”
The Council approved the “force account” process with the utility contractor and KDOT in the amount of $110250 and implement the funding plan to complete the improvements to sewer utilities and service lines.
* Council approved a proposed Ordinance No. 2121 authorizing the filing of application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by the Kansas Power Poll (KPP) on behalf of the City of Augusta, for waiver of the city’s must-purchase requirement under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 and adopting rules for compliance with the regulations.
This essentially means that the Council adopted the ordinance granting the City a waiver from the federal legislation, thus allowing KPP to assume the city’s purchase obligation in the event that a qualifying facility was ever built in our service territory.
* Council approved a proposal from William Morris Architects in the amount of $1,940 to prepare Part 3 of the submittal to the Kansas Historic Tax Credit Program for the Frisco Depot. It was recommended that the City sell the tax credits and apply the cash from the sale to the Pride & Progress Initiative.
* Council approved the acceptance of an electric utility easement at 1302 N. Ohio Street to support electric infrastructure enhancements.
* Council decided to keep the Splash Pad open through September and review usage data at the September council meetings. The facility will close before the end of September if temperatures are consistently cool.
Two executive sessions were held before adjournment; one to discuss matters deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship, and another session to discuss personnel matters.