Council debates work on sewer project

 More than half an hour of debate during Tuesday's meeting of the Wayne City Council focused on the work done and the processes involved with the 2019 Clark Street Sewer Extension Project.

Mayor Cale Giese presented background information on the project and noted that because the project was under the $30,000 threshold, state statue did not require bids to be taken for the work that was done. It involves extending a sewer line in the southeast portion of the city.

While discussion of the project began last summer, the construction process began with an on-site meeting on Sept. 23. At that time, it was noted that there may be an option to deviate from the original plan to place the sewer line in as straight of a line as possible.

Roger Protzman with JEO explained to the council what the process was in regard to the project and said that while there were several aspects that were different than projects normally done in the city of Wayne, Department of Environment and Energy has approved the work on the project. He said that the completed project does stay within the standards.

Protzman told the council that ultimately JEO has to sign off on the project and submit the necessary documentation to the state officials.

Jeff Brown with Brown Plumbing and Mike Kay with Kay Contracting, the firms involved with the work on the project, spoke to the council 

Kay told the council that he was the general contractor for the project and explained to the council that electric lines were found when digging began. He said that his firm worked to minimalize the  deviation and get away from the lines.

City Planner Joel Hansen said that with all projects, "plans and specifications are approved by the council, but sometimes once we get out to do the project, things change. Not a single project I have been involved with has been built to exact plans. But we do always end up with a project that works well."

Council member Jason Karsky said that he did not want something like this to keep contractors from bidding on projects and noted that the city staff and council need to improve communication when changes are necessary.

Following the discussion, it was determined that the claims from those involved with the work could be paid at a future meeting.

On a related note, discussion was held on when to utilize professional services in upcoming projects and to what extent.

City Administrator Wes Blecke said he was seeking guidance from the council on when to use an engineer and when it is not necessary and whether or not it was necessary to have a scope of services agreement with every project.

Council members specifically discussed the 2019 Water Transmission Main Project. City staff and council members said they felt it was necessary to have engineers oversee the project, even if it resulted in extra costs. It was noted that the project had come in under budget and spending the money on engineer oversight of the project would be a good investment.

In other action, the council listened to a  presentation from Jean Grove on the need for assistance with the 2020 Census in Wayne County.

Grove told the council that a total of 34 people are needed to help with the census in Wayne County.

"We need to get people hired as quickly as possible, because it does take time to go through the hiring process. The information gathered from the census is used in a number of ways, including during the application for grants," Grove said.

The council approved an application from Cindi Stolz for the Wayne Hospitality Group, LLC, doing business as the Cobblestone Hotel. Stolze introduced herself to the council and said she was looking forward to getting out into the community to meet people.

Resolution 2020-1 was approved. It allows for the on-call construction engineering services agreement between the city of Wayne and Olson for the Wayne Trail - Phase 2 Project.

City Planner Hansen told the council that construction is scheduled to begin in May and a pre-construction meeting is being planned sometime this month with all those involved.

A council mini retreat will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. in council chambers. The public is invited to attend.

The Wayne City Council will next meet in regular session on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The Wayne Herald

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