John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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December 10, 2009
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Glenwood determining best course of action on wastewater project

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Glenwood Springs administrators and City Councilors are trying to determine the best course of action in awarding a bid regarding the wastewater treatment facility project.

The current bids are due to expire before the end of the year. Without requiring a special meeting, Council will have to act on the current bids at its Dec. 17 meeting to avoid re-bidding the project, according to City Manager Jeff Hecksel.

Hecksel said that he spoke with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority - the state entity issuing the bond service for the loan - last week and it was clear that the city will have to include the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provision, if the city decides to use the authority for financing the loan.

"We are in the process of deciding what we are going to do with the bids and the new requirements," Hecksel said.

The project was halted, along with 22 other water improvement projects statewide, last month due to the passing of the 2010 Interior and Environmental Appropriations Bill on Oct. 30. The bill requires all Federal, State, and local projects, using state of federal funds, to include the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirement, which could potentially increase the overall cost of the project.

Glenwood Mayor Bruce Christensen addressed City Council

on Dec. 3, saying that he had not received a response from 3rd Congressional District Rep. John Salazar's office regarding inquiries on the issue. However, Christensen said that he did receive calls from a Salazar representative, Tuesday.

"I was hoping that they would have had some solutions in mind," Christensen said. "The only thing they offered was to help us with obtaining a larger loan to cover the additional costs, up to $3 million."

A main concern of the Colorado Municipal League was how, and if, the affected communities were going to be able to afford the new loans.

Christensen said that the inclusion of the provision will likely only increase the hourly labor wages by a "few cents", however, there is the potential that it could increase the cost of the project significantly.

While Water and Power Authority Finance Director Mike Brod estimated that inclusion of the provision could increase the project cost between 5 and 20 percent overall, Rep. Salazar's Communications Director Eric Wortman said the estimates he's heard were as low as one-half of 1 percent. However, he mentioned that he could not say that with certainty. But he indicated that Rep. Salazar will do what he can to help secure the higher loan agreement.

"Our office is happy to help [Glenwood] jump the hurdles quickly to get this project underway," Wortman said.

Wortman said that he was "puzzled" by Glenwood's resistance to include the provision.

"This is a nationwide bill," Wortman said. "The are no other places, other than Colorado, that are having issue with this."

Wortman added that other than Fruita and Glenwood Springs, as far as he was aware, Salazar's office had not heard of any other concerns about adding the provision from any other projects in the state.

"It seems to be fairly isolated," Wortman said. "But that could change."

jgardner@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Dec 10, 2009 01:08AM Published Dec 10, 2009 01:07AM Copyright 2009 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.