DANVILLE – Construction had been expected to start this summer, but now likely won’t start until next construction season on the northwest sanitary service area project.
Members of the city council’s Public Works Committee Tuesday night recommended rejecting the $6.2 million contract with Cross Construction of Urbana for the new gravity sewer, force main, pump stations, a pipe/pedestrian bridge and bridge joint replacement. The improvements are to take place through Chateau Estates and along Old Ottawa and Denmark roads.
The full city council will act on it next week.
The council approved the contract in May after Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. in April pulled the contract prior to a vote by aldermen to because he said he needed more time to review it and for some clarifications.
Danville Public Works Director Carl Carpenter said city officials found out several weeks ago the city didn’t receive the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan that is needed for the project.
“This whole project is paramount in receiving the loan,” Carpenter said.
“The price will go up. We’re absolutely certain of that," he also said of the project.
Carpenter and Williams said some of the fault lies with the city and former Community Development Director David Schnelle and some of it with the consultant Hanson Engineering. Williams said Schnelle didn’t take care of items that should have been completed in August. Hanson also had newer staff working on this, he added.
“It did not get done in time,” Carpenter said of the loan process. He said they’ve come up with a step-by-step process and dates to meet to re-apply.
He said they should have it resolved by December, although the loan is not guaranteed.
Williams said if Hanson doesn’t meet the timeline, the firm will be terminated.
If the city wouldn’t receive the loan again, the city still would need to find funding for the sewer portion within three to five years because it sees annual main breaks, Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the city will search for as much funding as it can for the project. This would mean the city would not have to spend the expected $1 million-plus out of the sewer fund budget, he said.
Williams also said this time around with the loan process, the city has the opportunity for $1 million in loan forgiveness, which will help make up for projected cost increases with the project re-bid.
Carpenter said it will be a two-year project.
Aldermen also talked about the need for a fence or to plant new trees where the trees were removed near Gao Grotto, and the need to remove the ugly stumps. Ward 2 Alderman Rick Strebing said the gated Gao Grotto now has become wide open for people to camp there.
Aqua Illinois’ dam gates replacement also is moving forward. The city’s sewer line across the dam will be dealt with after Aqua’s project.
In other business Tuesday night, after the committee’s discussion on city employee residency, the consensus of the Public Works and Public Services committees is to require city employees to live within five miles of the city’s limits. Some aldermen have favored increasing it to 10 miles, with some also favoring requiring department heads to live within the city.
If new hires live outside the city, they would then have to pay a property tax fee commensurate to what would be their city portion of their property taxes if their house was inside city limits. This would be less restrictive than the city now requires for non-union employees to live within the city, with union contracts differing in requirements.
Williams will take the proposed change to the full city council for action.