Weather stalls Audubon drain work
Saturday, February 08, 2014 4:00 AM
This winter's relentless cold spell has pushed back progress on a drainage overhaul project at the Audubon Park housing division.
Colby King of FBPH, the North Vernon design firm overseeing the project, told the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners on Friday the weather has temporarily halted construction at the site.
The project, which involves removing and replacing the drainage pipes and relocating utility lines, is being handled by Sedam Contracting of Hanover.
The $500,000 upgrade is almost entirely funded through federal grants, though the county did contribute a small matching percentage.
Work must be completed by July 31 for the grant funding to stay valid.
Given that crews are at a standstill with the weather - and because of difficulties with utility line relocation - King asked the commissioners to push back the substantial completion date.
The original substantial completion date was set for Feb. 28.
King requested that be changed to April 15, with final completion scheduled for May 15.
The commissioners unanimously approved the change.
As for the project itself, King said he doesn't anticipate workers using the entire utility budget.
"As long as nothing major comes up, I think we're looking at a savings there," he said.
Also at the meeting, Madison resident Larry Henry asked the commissioners if they would review a proposed interlocal agreement developed by County Council, City Council and Hanover Town Council representatives that would form a county economic development board.
Commissioner President Mark Cash said the board has no problem reviewing the document, but added that no one has asked to put the item on their meeting agenda.
Henry also asked if the commissioners were responsible for requesting Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller's withdrawal from the process. Henry quoted a letter from the firm explaining it was notified that local executive bodies - the mayor's office and commissioners - were not formally involved in crafting the agreement.
Ultimately, the firm agreed to remove itself from the process.
County Attorney Wil Goering said he was contacted by Ice Miller only after the letter came out and said neither he nor the commissioners made a complaint against the agreement.
"I didn't see the email she (an Ice Miller attorney) sent until it was sent around with a comment about the county executive possibly blocking this project, which simply didn't happen," Goering said.
Goering also questioned the timeline in which the firm had to work on the project and said there was a charge sent to County Councilmember Larry Wynn, who served as the chairperson of the board that crafted the agreement.
The group has publicly said Ice Miller's contribution came at no charge.
When asked to comment on Goering's statements later in the day, Wynn said he has emails that show Ice Miller received the rough draft of the proposed agreement on Dec. 5 and sent a final revision eight days later.
In addition, Wynn said it was initially Ice Miller's intention to charge, adding that the firm later said it would not be billing for its services.
Wynn said he plans to introduce the interlocal agreement as an agenda item at the next Board of Commissioners meeting and will address any concerns or questions publicly.
"I'm not sure where Mr. Goering is getting his information, but everything I have from Ice Miller is verifiable," Wynn said.
In other business:
County Clerk Karen Mannix reported that the county needs to select a new location for its Hanover 1-1 precinct polling location. The current location, the Hanover Town Municipal Building, was renovated to house the town's police department.
The commissioners agreed to accept a contract with the Southeastern Indiana Recycling District for this year. The contract was tabled because the organization had increased its rates and the increase had not been accounted for in the county's annual budget.
The price went from $12,500 to $12,971.
The deal is contingent on additional appropriations from the County Council.