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City Council Meeting, Tonight for “$60 Million Rumors on Water Improvements

July 10th, 2014 by

A City Council meeting has been called for tonight at image6:30, to address recent rumors that the $10 million expense paid to Siemens will only improve water service in a small portion of the city, and why another brand of meters was used, in place of the recommended brand.

The “$60 million” was based on the concept of,  “if  $10 million only repairs 1 ‘phase’ of the city’s 6 ‘phases’, then it must take $60 million to repair leaks for the entire city,”

For over a week, MLive has been trying to confirm the validity (or unfounded rumors) that are circulating about the unannounced $60 million expense involved in completing the City Water System Improvements.

Interim Mayor Tim Chase told MLive that he, along with the city’s clerk, attorney, and street supervisor had met with Siemens representatives, Tuesday, to correct the “focus” of the water improvement infrastructure plan.

The early publicized cost of $10 million was reported to include 4,600 Hersey meters (Sensus brand was installed) and 93 miles of water pipe (per July, 2013 meeting).

In the past month, many questions, and

"Phase 3 "as it was previously called, still be the first area to receive major repairs

“Phase 3 “as it was previously called, still be the first area to receive major repairs

rumors, have been circulating about only “a small part of town” being repaired, and more money (up to $60 million) being needed to finish the city-wide project. 

In August, 2012, these 2 maps were shown to the city Council, representing recent water leaks, at that time.

October 20, 2011, it was reported to the City Council inaccurate water meters were  costing the city 47% of the city’s water usage.

In January, 2013, Siemens was approved as the city’s “Water Repair Contractor.”

In September, 2013, this was taken from an MLive report…
“The pipe layout has also been designed to minimize the need to dig up streets, and to impact existing trees and other environmental features. All streets that are damaged by this project will be repaired under the contract. All water meters will be replaced with radio-read meters, and a computerized system will be installed to alert the water department to meter damage, water leaks, and other issues. Approximately 100 fire hydrants will be replaced.”

Recently, we interviewed Cody Carter, local supervisor for Siemens, who told us that first priority would be on needs in the “phase 3″ area of their map (east of Main St., south of Gaines St.).

Carter also told MLive that needs in other parts of the city would be addressed, but only “a very small percentage.” Also when asked, he wasn’t sure why the Hersey meters were replaced with Sensus meters.

Interim Mayor Tim Chase told us that Tuesday’s meeting should remove any controversy, because, “repairs will be done based on need, not in phases.”

Since this is a Performance Based Contract, Tony Ardillo, of Siemens, on October 11 stated, “If we say we’re going to increase your revenue by $200,000 with your new meters, if we meet or exceed that, then we’re all good. If we don’t, then we write a check [to the city for the difference], fix the problem, and go on from there.”

There have been no recent meetings, where these issues have been presented to the City Council, and it has also been told that council members were not given copies of the contract to read , prior to its approval.

No one,when asked had been able to answer how far “93 miles of pipe” will cover, or how far a $10,000,000 bill will stretch.

Sources report that Siemens has already been paid “90%” of the contract, and other questions that we’re still investigating.

Posted below is the letter sent by Siemens’ Carter to the City, after Tuesday’s meeting.
City of Monticello
Dear Dr. Chase:
Siemens Industry, Inc. will complete underground piping work throughout the city where designated as a high leakage area.
By the end of July, work will begin in the core of the city which currently has the most leaks and oldest piping.
Once construction has started in the area already approved by the Arkansas
Department of Health, we will instruct the project engineer to work with the Public Works Department to design additional areas throughout the city that are designated as high leakage and problem areas.
If you have any questions feel free to contact me via email. “

6 Responses to “City Council Meeting, Tonight for “$60 Million Rumors on Water Improvements”

  1. Jodie says:

    So the city council approved a contract they never laid their eyes on. Seems like the mayor or assistant to the mayor would have made sure each council person would have a copy to review before giving the final decision. Also, in my experience with performance grade contracts, there is almost always a guarantee or warranty stating that rates must be raised in order to qualify for the reimbursement if the said project does not perform as it is supposed too. Is there somewhere the public can go to see this contract?


    RESPONSE: FOI request the mayor’s office. Ask for a copy of the water system improvement contract.
    Legally, they have 24 hours to produce a “current document.”
    NOTE: The full contract is thicker than you would expect.

    Joe Burgess / MLive

  2. walter says:

    Are the sensus meters of the same cost and quality of the Hersey meters? Is Siemens honoring their end of the contract up to this point?

  3. taxpayermom says:

    So this is another one of those, “We have to pass the contract in order to know what is in it” deals. Why on earth do our elected officials think they know what is best for us when they don’t even bother to inform themselves of something this major?

  4. Very concerned says:

    “First and foremost in late of 2013 the city entered into a 10 million renovation of the city’s water system. The work on the project began March 2014 and will continue for the next 3 years. The city needs leadership that is aware and informed of the projects and bond issues plans. I have been involved in the signing of the bond issue and briefed weekly on the status of progress and planning of the water renovations phases. I can provide the strong leadership needed to ensure accountability and oversight of the projects contractors and the bond issues finances better securing an on time delivery of services to the public.” Zack Tucker per Q-A

  5. LaNell McKiever says:

    I do not understand why money spent was first put on the new meters.
    It seems the only thing that was supposed to do was make more money
    but if our water pipes are rusted out and the fire hydrants do not work, then if we have a fire, you do not have any water to put it out, and the house burns down. If a pipe bursts and you cut that part out, recouple it and it still bursts the pipe further down because it is still rusty and needs replaced, then you do not have water, have to fix the street a second, third time, but the meter should charge the home owner more money for water to increase the fee, but you still haven’t helped the home owner. It kinda looks like you have increased the water rate, but have not done anything to improve the service to the people of Monticello.

  6. LaNell McKiever says:

    Do we get to vote on a $10 Million bond issue or did we just have Zack involved in signing for it or were there people that signed for it? Did I miss the vote or is $10 Million too insignificant for us to have anything to do with it and we just read about it in the newspaper after is already said and done? Then we read about it how everything is in a mess. If our water income had not been used all these past years for other projects than repairing our water lines, sewer lines, fire hydrants when this has been going on needing repairs for years. Our water towers can’t be kept up because we do not have the money because it has been spent on other things that were not necessary.

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