The Saratoga Sun -

Lagoon done, billing discussed

Carbon County JPB hears Saratoga lagoon complete, discusses 7 years of inaccurate Old Baldy billing, awards water project to lone out-of-county bidder

 


Jon Winter, Director of Public Works for the Town of Saratoga, informed the Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (CCIJB) that the Saratoga lagoon project was “substantially complete” during their regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. on June 13 at the Saratoga Town Hall.

Winter also informed the CCIJB of the selection made by the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) for a contractor in an upcoming project with the municipality’s water wells. The board also discussed incorrect billing of the Old Baldy Club (OBC) and the planned sewer project at Saratoga Elementary School (SES).

While giving an update on the lagoon project, Winter told the members of the CCIJB the only item left in regards to the project was a pole barn to protect the contact chamber at the lagoon. As was reported in the Saratoga Sun on May 23, 2018 (“Lagoon, fire update, sewer”), the pole barn had originally been included in the contract but was removed. During the meeting in May, it was decided Winter would keep the board updated on the price of the pole barn via email with the stipulation that it not exceed the balance remaining in the project fund.

“We got a bid from Custom (Builders) for $32,500, I believe it was, and then we retained the original 6K that was in the original pole barn package bid for electrical,” said Winter.

Richard Raymer, town council representative on the joint powers board, expressed hesitancy going with the building and electrical if it would mean pulling money from the Wyo-Star program. Raymer added that if the board would have to pull funds from Wyo-Star, his preference would be that the money go towards a local electrician to complete any work on the pole barn.

The board voted to follow through with the construction of the pole barn with the condition that, if electrical additions to the structure would go over the balance of the lagoon project that it not be included.

Moving onto OBC, board member Roger Cox addressed the rest of the board and informed them that the club was being inaccurately billed and had been for at least seven years. While the Town of Saratoga had an agreement with OBC starting in 2005 for purchase of water rights, the club paid a fee of $241 a month. Starting in 2011, however, water rights reverted back to the club, but the billing had not changed.

“I think they’re getting a pretty good service for $241 a month,” said Raymer.

Cox echoed Raymer’s sentiments, adding, “They’re paying a landfill per residence, but they’re only paying basically one sewer.”

According to Raymer, while the club has been paying a monthly fee of $241 for the entire property, billing the residences the regular water fee of $29.86/month would have brought in over $1,500 each month. The biggest issue that the joint powers board ran into during the meeting was not knowing how many of the houses were on a septic tank and how many were tied into the town sewer system.

The joint powers board tasked Winter with finding out exactly when the water rights reverted from the Town of Saratoga to OBC. According to an article in the Sept. 25, 2013 issue of the Saratoga Sun (“Town drafts new deal”) a new water use agreement was drafted and billing should have been changed then.

Craig Kopaz, member of the joint powers board, gave the board an update on the sewer project at SES on behalf of Engineering Associates. According to Kopaz, while the intent had been to keep construction in the right-of-way, current infrastructure necessitated a move.

“The discussion was had (last month) that we were going to try and keep everything in the right-of-way,” said Kopaz, “but with existing utilities that were found after last meeting we had to move it over just a little bit because we didn’t want to impact infrastructure that was currently there.”

Kopaz informed the board that, upon completion, the sewer line would come under ownership of the town along Spring Street while the line along Fourth Street would still be under the ownership of Carbon County School District No. 2.

Finally, during the monthly report from the DPW, Winter informed the board that the WWDC had to opted give the contract for the upcoming water well project to Forsgren Associates Inc. out of Evanston, Wyo. Forsgren was selected over local engineering companies North Fork Engineering of Saratoga and WLC Engineering of Rawlins. Five of the board members voted to approve WWDC’s contractor selection and two board members in opposition.

Raymer, one of the members who voted against approving Forsgren, expressed his displeasure with WWDC’s choice.

“I talked to Kevin (Boyce) and basically, the short version is, I called Kevin and expressed my opinion and how I was dissatisfied in the fact that we had two local engineering firms that both have previous experience and history with our system and I personally feel this would have been a good opportunity for either one of those two companies to come in and maybe re-evaluate and have some good solutions for the number of issues we’ve had over the last ten years,” said Raymer.

Raymer added that, considering the end of the fiscal year was approaching, it would have been good to keep money within the county.

“It just would have been nice to keep some business local,” Raymer said.

With no other business to conduct, the joint powers board adjourned. The next regular meeting of the Carbon County Impact Joints Powers Board will be at 6 p.m. on July 11 at the Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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