Missing reports cause waterline delay

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Mayor Julie Eagan expressed frustration with missing reports for the Poultney Street bridge waterline project from engineer Clark Wilkinson at a Whitehall Village Board meeting on April 27.

Village attorney Matt Fuller needs the reports and the waterline project is one of the ways the Covid-19 relief funds will be spent.

“I don’t know what else to do and I don’t understand how we got this far along in the process without him knowing if we could put the line there in the first place,” Eagan said.

The reports detailing the waterline to be placed under the Poultney Street bridge are behind schedule, according to Fuller, who said it is starting to look bad on the village for not submitting the reports yet. The longer the report is missing, the longer it will take to get the waterline project approved.

“Someone internally needs to be running the project because the engineers need to answer to somebody and if not, these things happen,” Fuller said. “I’ve stressed that this has been my concern because I can’t be as the attorney.”

Another issue the board discussed about Wilkinson’s budget was a need for a better understanding of the figures given. Questions were raised by DPW foreman Steve Brock about parts like pipes and a hydrant that is being requested.

“Back in 2015, I could have had this done for $60,000 and now the price of everything has gone up,” he said.

Brock also said that there are items for the project listed on the budget that he knows are available for use at the water treatment plant already. He said he wouldn’t mind going over equipment and tools they already have to cut the expense of the project.

“I do work with pipes all the time and an understanding of everything,” he said.

Fuller said he is not sure if Wilkinson has the right figures and said he has had a hard time getting in contact with him regarding the reports needed for the project. He said when he first heard from Wilkinson, he thought the report would be early rather than late.

“Mark my words, if we had said that it would have taken us until June 1st to get that thing done, they wouldn’t have liked it, but they would have said ‘okay.’ But when you tell them a date you have to meet it and when you tell them you’ll have it well in advance,” Fuller said.

The budget that has been provided to the board has old figures and Eagan is concerned that the budget isn’t correct because of recent inflation of almost all markets in the United States.

“It’s gone up $23,000 but like Matt (Fuller) said, there’s no way to know where we’re going to be with this project. I looked at the old numbers and my concern is I don’t understand how something was initially done in 2020 can still be the same amount of money,” she said.