NUANGOLA — A room full of property owners with plenty of questions appeared at Monday’s sewer authority meeting, and a substantial number of their inquiries had to be fielded by Rich Kresge, chief eneginer for the sewer system project.
Pipeline and grinder pump installations under contract to the Wexcon Co. are running behind, and Kresge, of the Quad3 Group of Wilkes-Barre, asked for the authority’s endorsement to extend the completion date from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15.
Kresge, however, didn’t get the approval he sought.
A roll call vote on a motion by authority chairman Ray Shirk that Kresge’s request be granted, with a stipulation that no further extensions will considered, ended in a split vote, 2-2. Shirk and Sally DiRico, secretary of the board, voted yes. Ted Vancosky, authority treasurer, and vice chairman Gerard Maskinas voted no. As a result, the issue of extending the completion date was left in limbo, although attorney Robert Gonos, solicitor, recommended that the two sides should meet and attempt to resolve their issues.
The authority, following the resignation in July of Dan Pekar, has only four members.
Vancosky based his vote on the premise that the “authority will be paying for extras, such as engineering fees, that it should not be paying,” he said. “Wexcon should be paying.”
Kresge rebutted, “I can tell you that in my view, the job is on track and … on budget according to the contract we signed last year.”
Wexcon became bogged down with terrain problems in the northwest sector of the borough and as a result work is projected at being only 20 percent complete, Kresge said. Following recent meetings between the contractor and engineers, it was decide to separate the job into two phases: Phase I, which consists of 80 percent of the borough, and Phase II, which is the area of North End Road.
Phase I has been successfully tested and inspected and is “essentially complete,” Kresge said. Phase II is only 20 percent finished and will require excavation, drilling and installation work through Oct. 31.
Penalties stipulated in the contract for installations that fail to meet target dates have been waived, Shirk and Kresge said.
Complaints from residents centered around landscape damage supposedly caused by the contractor, uncertainty on the closing of on-site systems and the imposition of penalties for the late payment of tap-in fees.
Councilwoman Regina Plodwick read a prepared statement in which she alleged the whole project has been “mismanaged.” Plodwick contended the system should have, at the least, been operational for the start of classes at Rice Elementary School.