The Saratoga Sun -

Saratoga moves forward on Spring Street

Saratoga Town Council to issue design-build Request for Proposal

 

January 12, 2022

Saratoga Sun file photo

The Spring Street water main, which burst in October 2021, will likely be on the slate for replacement in 2022.

Though the New Year has just begun, concerns over being unable to get on a construction schedule this year has motivated the Town of Saratoga to move quickly on the replacement of the Spring Street water main from River Street to 3rd Street.

At the January 4 meeting of the Saratoga Town Council, replacement of the water main was heavily discussed. Though it had been a topic for the final meeting of 2021, following a recommendation from the Saratoga-Carbon County Impact Joint Powers Board (SCCIJPB), no action had been taken. This was largely due to a need to investigate if the project, which would be funded by funds from the One Percent Specific Purpose Sales and Use Tax (6th penny tax), was eligible for funding from the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC).

"Just to update the council, (Mayor) Creed (James) and I were talking the other day and looked over the Water Master Plan - Level One study that was done back in 2019. It was either the result of the discussion that was had at the joint powers board meeting or our discussion here as a council, but I was confused about what was included in the projects identified in that master plan that would be eligible for WWDC (Wyoming Water Development Commission) funding," said Councilmember Jon Nelson. "The Spring Street project is not one of those projects identified in the master plan."

Despite the project not being eligible for WWDC funds, Nelson stated it could still be funded, in part, by funding from either the State Lands Investments Board or Abandoned Mine Lands.

During the December 21 council meeting, Nelson had expressed his concern the Town of Saratoga would be too late in getting the project together to qualify for funding from the WWDC and would be forced to push it back to 2023. While the realization the project was not included within the level one study provided some breathing room, Nelson said the chances of getting the project slated for this year were getting slim. Estimating the design and engineering of the project could be completed by May, he stated it could be mid-summer before construction began.

"The longer we put it off, the more infrastructure we have piling up," said Councilmember Ron Hutchins. "If we could expedite that and get at least some of the system upgraded this year, I think we'd waste a year if we don't try anyway."

Nelson agreed with Hutchins and recommended the council take action to put out a Request for Proposal. James asked if the SCCIJPB had looked into other funding options other than just funds from the 6th penny tax.

"I think I could say, fairly, that the joint powers board has not taken an effort as a board to do that due diligence," Nelson said. "I'm familiar with what the process is and the availabilities are because of work, right? I think beyond that, Jon Winter's the most familiar with the cycles and those opportunities when it comes to somebody, aside from me, is at the joint powers board meetings and/or at council meetings."

As discussion continued, it appeared the Town of Saratoga had enough money in 6th penny funds alone to start and complete the project without additional funding sources. According to Nelson, an estimated cost of the project was $1.6 million-which included replacing the water main and the overlay of the Spring Street-with over $2 million currently received in 6th penny funds.

"The way we intended on going about these projects was we didn't bond. We didn't get a lump sum $7.9 million in specific purpose tax money, upfront, on day one when everybody else's bonds were issued," said Nelson. "We made a conscious decision to take the money and do the projects as the money came in."

Following discussion over the funding of the project, Nelson proposed the Town of Saratoga issue a design-build Request for Proposal to "compress the overall timeline". Rather than the traditional method of getting a Request for Proposal from engineers then putting the project out to bid from contractors, this process would require engineers and contractors work in tandem to present a proposal.

The motion to move forward with a design-build Request for Proposal passed unanimously.

The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on January 18 at Saratoga Town Hall.

 

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