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It’s all ‘fine’

Water treatment project nearing completion

PRINCETON — Princeton’s new water treatment plant is “substantially completed” and should be in full operation within the next few weeks.

At this week’s Princeton City Council meeting, Commissioner Joel Quiram talked about additional financial considerations for the $21 million project, saying the Farnsworth Group engineering firm wants to bill the city an additional $169,000 for its extended services in overseeing the project, which had been scheduled to be completed last May.

The Vissering Construction Co., which is building the plant, can be fined $1,500 a day for liquidating damages in missing last spring’s completion date, which would amount to about $189,000 in fines for the city, Quiram said. That money from Vissering could be used to pay Farnsworth Group, resulting in no additional cost to the taxpayers, he said.

Voting in favor of the presentation — to pay Farnsworth Group with Vissering fine money — were Mayor Keith Cain and Commissioners Bob Warren and Ray Swanson. Voting against the proposal was Quiram and Commissioner Ray Mabry.

On Tuesday, Princeton City Manager Jeff Clawson further commented on some of the details of the water treatment plant project.

The “substantial completion” of the project means the plant is fully functioning and capable of making water, Clawson said. A punch list of items which still need to be accomplished has been created, and those are the items on which the contractor is currently working. That list should be completed in another 45 to 60 days.

As far as the liquidated damages, Clawson explained liquidated damages is the way the contract penalizes the general contractor for not completing the project on time. When the Princeton contract was signed nearly two years ago, the general contractor agreed to be done by May 4, 2013.  In this contract, the penalty was a daily fee of $1,500 from the date the contractor was required to be done until Sept. 5, Clawson said.

When the contractor gets closer to full completion, the city will meet with the contractor and discuss all details of the job, including the damages, Clawson said. There is a possibility the city could waive some fees or offset other expenses with the fees. A final recommendation will ultimately go to the council for approval.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the city council heard from Clawson on an accessibility issue at city hall. The city has been working on an ADA (American with Disabilities Act) plan for city hall since its lower level lift failed late last year.

The plan is to install a new lift in the stairway that feeds up to the main floor elevator and the main floor, Clawson said. Princeton’s Planning Director and Zoning Officer Brian Gift has done a lot of work on this project, and a plan will be presented hopefully within the next few weeks. The lift project is now estimated to cost in the $25,000 to $30,000 range, rather than in the $60,000-$75,000 range as originally thought, Clawson said.

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