Wednesday, April 23, 2014

GDPUD votes to put water plant out to bid

From page A1 | May 17, 2013 | 14 Comments

After a lengthy discussion that covered familiar territory, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District finally voted to put out to bid the plans for the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant.

Since February when General Manager Hank White first asked for board approval to get bids on the plant, the topic has come up repeatedly, with board members Ray Griffiths and Norm Krizl consistently voting to move forward while Kathy Otermat, Bonnie McLane and Maria Capraun have just as consistently voted against.

Over the last three months, the board has mired itself in the minutia of the financing and engineering of the plant. At Tuesday’s meeting, Capraun reported that they still had not had a meeting with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). McLane, Capraun and Otermat hoped such a meeting would result in CDPH giving the district more time to comply with the state mandate or suggesting a less expensive alternative.

Capraun then put forth several motions that failed to gain support from a majority of the board. One was to go out to bid and do a value engineering process at the same time. However, Krizl objected, saying that no contractor would want to bid on a project that was being redesigned at the same time. The district should do one or the other, he advised.

Krizl, who had previously voiced his objection to value engineering, went on to say, “We’ve heard from somebody who’s been intimately involved in the engineering of this project that the value engineering doesn’t make any sense because they already gone through and cleaned up everything that they possibly could.”

With no support from other board members for that action, Capraun then motioned to undertake a value engineering process, but that suggestion drew even more objections. Interim General Manager Kelly Shively reminded the board that project bids might come back less than expected and value engineering might not be needed. Krizl also brought up that if they pursue value engineering, a Proposition 50 grant for $685,550 could be lost because of a missed deadline.

Shively had previously informed the board that CDPH told him the grant will likely be in jeopardy if the funding agreement is not executed prior to June 30. That funding agreement includes having a bid from a contractor to do the retrofit of ALT. However, McLane said she didn’t feel CDPH’s warning necessarily meant the funds would be lost.

Walter Driggs, a past president of GDPUD, then warned the board that it was doing things the staff should be doing and if they didn’t have enough staff, they should hire more.

“You guys are breaking laws,” he said. “You’re going down the wrong path. You’ve got to remember what your responsibilities are and you aren’t meeting your responsibilities — period.”

Different audience members also raised doubts about the value engineering process. Resident Ed Grout said value engineering is usually reserved for mass-produced products and didn’t think the district would save the amount of money promised by Psomas. Concurring with Grout were residents Ray Kringel and Dale Miller.

Other audience members suggested the deficit in financing the project be made up either with bonds or having the contractor finance the difference.

With little audience support for value engineering, the board voted to put the plans out to bid. Shively pointed out that the plans for the plant are not yet ready to be released. He said they were at 100 percent in January, but additional cleanup work is needed which could take up to a month. Once that is finished, they will be released to the seven contractors already pre-qualified to bid on the project. The topic of value engineering will be taken up again at the June board meeting.

In other actions taken by the board, Krizl complained about the errors and omissions in the board’s minutes, which are currently being prepared by different board members. Because they are official records, he asked that staff do them but said there was no longer anyone there to do them “because five different staff members have been chased from the district.” He said the district should be hiring more help rather than spending “thousands and thousands of dollars on attorneys to review policies.” At that, McLane suggested he have a time-out to which Krizl responded, “Yes mom.” Instead McLane said she would revise the minutes and bring them back to the next meeting. Resident Jack Podsedly offered to help.

A preliminary budget for the next fiscal year was discussed. It will be brought back for approval at the June board meeting.

Also discussed was a Sensus meter reading system and a system for accepting credit card payments. Those items will be discuss further in June. New board policies were presented for approval, but since not all of them had been reviewed by interim Counsel John Knowlton, they will be brought back to the next meeting for approval. Otermat, McLane and Capraun voted to pay him to review them. Griffiths and Krizl voted against.

A decision to go ahead and hire an office manager was put off until the next meeting because of changes to the job description. Shively questioned why two board members were listed on the interview committee since the person would be reporting to him. Capraun said it would help to weed out candidates, but Krizl complained about it being another example of micromanaging by the board and said Shively should do the hiring.

The board also voted its support for the upcoming Georgetown Kid’s Fishing Derby at Lake Walton.

The next regular meeting of the board will be on June 11 at 9 a.m. at the district office.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


Discussion | 14 comments

  • Dink LaneMay 16, 2013 - 11:40 am

    The other GDPUD article talked about needing a PR person because the Mt. Democrat was BIASED.... Well how about the phrase about Norm and Ray "consistently voting to move forward" while the NEW board members voted no...... Ah, did the bad ladies pick on the poor little guys.... BECAUSE the guys never bothered to get the FACTS?..... Facts the REPORTER never bothered to ASK......

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  • Auburn Lake Trails Project Engineering and BidsMay 17, 2013 - 6:38 am

    The voting report on the fact that 3 of the board members voted not to send the project out to bid previously are irrelevant. The project that was said to be 100% engineered by the GM in January was once again a false statement. The engineering as stated by this article states the plans are still not done and its May. NONE OF THE VOTES FOR OR AGAINST HELD ANYTHING UP on this poorly managed project. Get a new engineer, three years and still not done with the engineering is too long.

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  • SliderMay 17, 2013 - 8:27 am

    Heres the question, what is wrong with the water service we recieve? I am very happy with the staff, the administration and the quality. I turn on my tap and shazam! I get good water. Duh, its what they are supposed to do. The 3 stooges need to shut up and let people that actually know what they are doing do thier jobs. As for Maria, I have known her for 20 years and everything she gets involved in turns to crap. Same could be said for Ottermat. McLane is just way out in left field without a clue. What a laughingstock they are making a good organization look like. I bet the GOBs in Placerville are getting a good laugh at us "hicks" up here due to the incompatence of the three stooges. $10000 for PR? Capraun needs a million

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  • Cleaning up Hank White messMay 17, 2013 - 1:24 pm

    Remember when Hank White lied and told us this was all taken care of? And then made up a story about how much it would cost? And then ignored the public opinion on it? We are sitting around cleaning up this sandbag's mess. What a waste of time and energy and most importantly all our damn money. Glad Norm can sit by his weed garden and be happy causing more blockades in this mess we call the employees of GDPUD. It's hard not to shake your head in disgust when walking by any one of them in Marvels. Pathetic.

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  • cookie65May 18, 2013 - 9:22 am

    There is a water supply contract between PG&E and Placer County Water Agency. I recently was informed by a someone that the cost of water sold to PCWA by PG&E was set to increase by 1,000%.

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  • EvelynMay 18, 2013 - 9:46 am

    Cookie: The future price and availability of water is a HUGE concern.

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  • missed the boatMay 18, 2013 - 10:55 am

    Turn, turn, turn, there is a season. This applies to construction as well. A new water treatment plant is a 12 month construction project with the first six months involving excavation and underground work. Typically started in the spring for the best weather. After advertising and contract award, this project would not break ground till fall, just in time for the rain. Though you can build all year in California, it is more expensive to work in the mud and bad weather and the bid price will reflect it. This project should have been advertised last February as recommended by Kelly and technical staff. Most good contractors have already booked their workload for the season. Will be interesting to see if any of the seven pre-qualified contractors are still insterested in this project. Especially after all the dirty laundry been aired out in the papers. You will probably receive one or two very high, non-competitve bids from contractors who are saying "I will take this job only at this very high profit margin". Would you work for this District? Majority of the employees have left, and from the outside it appears to be for good reason.

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  • Pat SnellingMay 18, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    If the reporter would have looked at the Department of Public Health's order, she would have seen there were four choices. Hank White chose the "Second Most Expensive" method to comply. (At least that's what a reporter is supposed to do.) She never investigated as to WHY the prior-board just let Hank White run wild with an open checkbook.

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  • missed the boatMay 18, 2013 - 4:23 pm

    Pat, I have not seen the four options offered by DPH, but caution that the least initial cost may not be the best for long term reliability. I have toured the existing facility and rehab'ing it would be like building on top of a crumbling foundation. Even if it is cheaper now it would be a very poor choice for long term service. Please educate us all and list what were the four options suggested by DPH.

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  • Auburn Lake Trails Project Engineering and BidsMay 18, 2013 - 5:15 pm

    Dear missed the Boat, the engineering is still not done to send out to bid, didn't you read this article. So if the Board blindly voted for a project they did not have the funding to complete it still would not start this spring.

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  • missed the boatMay 19, 2013 - 9:11 am

    Thats the only concern you took from my pevious comment? That the bidding and contract award would take till fall but I forgot to list the additional engineering as one of the components that would make up that time delay? If your point is that the design sitting idle all this time is a travisty, then I fully agree with you. Staff should have made sure plans and specs were fully ready to publish back in Feb when they first recommended going to bid. If the design firm said the plans and specs were 100%, and they are stamped, put them out now without further delay to get a current, accurate price. After all this hoopla and sudden revelation that the plans are still not ready I agree both staff and the consultant are very remiss in their duty to keep options moving forward. Also note the previous project cost guesstimates from the consultant are only that. The engineers use very coarse 'rule of thumb' numbers to guess at large chunks of the project cost. They do not itemize every component from every sub-contractor and material supplier like a general contractor does for the actual bid. A good exercise here would be to request a copy of the back up for the engineers cost estimate. Staff should have that, if it even exists. What you receive (or dont receive) may be very eye opening. All the price arguing so far may be based on crude numbers only with a lot of contingency built in to protect the consultant from the embarasement of estimating too low, and is really moot without good information to support the discussion. As typically happens, the consultant runs out of budget and shorts the effort on the final QC and cost estimate and gives a high number so they look good when it comes in cheaper. Until the District receives construction bids a true cost will not be known, the state therefore can't comment on possible additional funds, and no one can make an educated decision on how to best move forward. (Opps, an educated decision from this Board? Oxymoron!)

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  • Pat SnellingMay 19, 2013 - 2:36 pm

    "Missed The Boat".... I couldn't find my copy of the Department of Public Health's letter to GDPUD (Which the Reporter should have ... after all it was discussed multiple times during the campaign.) It said the water district had 4-options. I don't remember the 1st--it was either chemicals or testing. The add a FLOCCULATION filtration method.... The 3rd-option... to build a NEW Water treatment plant and the 4-th option... to build a desalination plant (Way, way over kill for GDPUD's water quality.).... The Reporter had all this information but for some reason she forgets to report on this .... The FLOCCULATION filtration would have cost around $700,000.... compared to the $11 MILLION for a new plant... See what happens when the press doesn't do its job?

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  • missed the boatMay 20, 2013 - 6:55 am

    Pat, Thank you for the four alternatives. Coming in late I do not have full history on this boondoggle yet. For $700,000 sounds as if it includes only new flocculators in front of the existing pressure filters. You are right about needing more info from Mtn Dem and GDPUD. A good Mtn Dem report would include full report on the condition of the existing filters and how much effective service life they have, 1 year or 40 years. There should be a project feasibility report somewhere that would answer a lot of these questions about which option is best long term and why. That might help move forward on the best option, whichever it may be, and help unify the Board to one objective.

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  • robertdnollMay 20, 2013 - 8:30 am

    why do commenters expect newspapers to educate them on issues related to stories they print?It's not their responsibility

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