Pump station upgrade more than doubles in cost

A cost over-run of $55,188 was approved by Morrin Village council at a special meeting on Wed. Sept. 25.

Council learned that the quote for $35,685 provided at the April 2019 meeting and motion for approval for the emergency electric motor for the water pump from Collicutt Energy did not include the necessary electrical upgrades for the pump.

In the notes attached to the quote that was received at the April council meeting, in part, stated that Collicutt:11). Assumed the pump required voltage is 480 Vac and both 480Vac. 120 Vac is available at the client facility, and 12). Assumed we have spots in their DP or our 480V TP Breaker and 120V SP Breaker.

Mayor Howard Helton questioned the “seemingly miscommunication” as he had met on Feb. 4, 2019 at the pump station with Project Manager Glen Riep and the Collicutt Energy owner, Steven Collicutt, Jason Stewart, also from Collicutt and Deputy Mayor M’Liss Edwards, to clear up any questions regarding the project

At that time, they had asked Collicutt to provide council with a quote for the electric motor installation.

However, Riep attended the Special Meeting Sept. 25, and when asked provided an overview of the project which was to replace the generator unit.

He stated he had approval from Starland County to cover the cost of half the project at $70,000.

Riep then stated, “But now, because in June I got notification from Collicutt that they were coming to install the backup drive for the emergency pump, and I wasn’t aware of that, I asked Collicutt to hold off.

“I found out from our engineer for the project, MPE, that the power supply had to be upgraded, which changed the scope of the project considerably,” he said.

In an attempt to get to the events that led to the cost over-run, Mayor Helton outlined the steps taken by the Village council over the past 21 months.

Council had directed administration as far back as the December 2017 meeting, where the minutes recorded stated: “Village Fire Pump Project – Mayor Helton and Councillor Graham – Council members met with Glen Riep of Starland County and received an update on the work he has been doing toward this project.”

At the Nov. 21, 2018 meeting, it was reported in the ECA Review in a quote from Mayor Helton, “I keep seeing just the GenSet. Having the GenSet, we have water supply, but we still don’t have a real emergency pump. It’s an engine driving it now, but we need a motor.”

Administration stated in the Nov. 2018 meeting that $50,000 had been set aside for the project.

At that time Mayor Helton had expressed frustration that the followup regarding the electric motor was still not available.

In the February 2019 meeting, council again tabled the GenSet generator upgrade because no official plan outlining the work and expenses for the upgrade had been made available to council.

In the March 2019 council meeting, council approved the $63,762 expense as per the schedule from Glen Riep outlining the costs and equipment.

It was noted that council was still waiting for the emergency pump motor quote from Collicutt to complete the project.

At the April 2019 meeting, council motioned to purchase and install an electric motor system for the water pump for $35,685 as per the quote from Collicutt.

In May, council queried Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner as to whether the electric motor had been ordered.

She confirmed she had not, stating, “It was not directed, it was just passed to order it.”

She then informed council she would order it.

“Council’s mistake was thinking, I guess, because we had talked so much about [the electric motor],” stated Mayor Helton in a follow-up interview, “it was a joint thing, that when we got that electrical quote that was redone, he [Riep] had the understanding about the electrical that would have to go in to accommodate the motor.

“My point was, council shouldn’t have had to follow all that up, that’s not our job,” said Helton. ‘Not our job to follow up on projects’.

With the approved motion to go ahead with the cost over-run of $55,188, the total cost to the village now stands at $154,635.

CAO Plachner was directed by council to come back with the 2019 budget showing from where the monies will be found for the cost over-run.


J. Webster

ECA Review

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