A decision to change the budget for the next phase of Lodi’s ongoing water meter project was postponed when two council members questioned the adjustments at Wednesday’s Lodi City Council meeting.
Councilmen Phil Katzakian and Bob Johnson raised concerns about a resolution to make seven significant changes to a $3 million contract. The changes would add $771,000 to the contract, an increase of 27 percent.
Two changes include exchanging old asbestos concrete pipes for plastic ones on Ham Lane and Loma Drive. Another calls for 1,740 feet of 3-inch pipe to be replaced with 6-inch pipe due to a city records error. One more requires repairs to the entrance of the White Slough Pollution Control Center due to damages caused when the Lodi Energy Center was built.
The contract was awarded to Knife River Construction of Stockton in March to complete Phase Three of the water meter project. Public Works Director Wally Sandelin said these changes are normal and expected for this project because the cost was based on the amount of product, like asphalt and infill dirt, needed to complete the work. During the course of the work this summer, Sandelin said more asphalt and infill dirt was needed than originally anticipated.
The normal practice is to simply make the change orders and inform the council during the final project approval, said Sandelin. Telling the council now is a courtesy.
Katzakian said he was not expecting any changes to the budget for the water meter project.
“Is everything still in line?” he asked. “Are we going to run into a problem down the road?”
The most challenging phases of the project are yet to come, Sandelin said. But the budget is conservative enough that these changes will not pose a problem, he explained.
“When we get into the Eastside of town, things will get worse,” he said. “Part of the solution is ensuring our estimates are more than expected.”
Johnson said he would be uncomfortable voting on the changes without more dialog between the council and city staff. He received responses to his questions from Sandelin before the meeting, but had not yet reviewed them.
“I recognize that sometimes you open up a street and you don’t know what’s under there, that there can be emergency conditions,” he said.
Holding the item until the next meeting will not hold up the project, said City Manager Rad Bartlam.
No vote was taken. The council agreed to table the item until the next meeting, by which time more information about each change will be included in the staff report.
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