The city of Oak Harbor will be sticking with a national engineering firm for the next phase of a new wastewater treatment facility.
The City Council discussed the options for moving forward with the plant, which is estimated to cost $93.5 million, during the regular meeting last week.
City Engineer Joe Stowell said the council could choose to stay with Carollo Engineers for the design phase; the company was chosen by city officials — following a lengthy selection process — to do the facilities plan and preliminary design work a couple of years ago.
Or, Stowell said, the city could solicit “requests for qualifications” for the next phase of work to see if there’s another firm city officials may prefer.
Stowell made it clear that he believes Carollo has done excellent work and the majority of the council agreed, heaping praise on the company.
Stowell said other municipalities in the area have hired Carollo and officials there were very happy with the quality and timeliness of the work.
The council voted to stay with Carollo on a 4-1 vote, with only Councilman Jim Campbell voting in opposition. Councilman Danny Paggao was absent.
Neither Stowell nor any council members acknowledged Mayor Scott Dudley’s concerns about the company’s work, which he has been very public about.
In an interview afterward, Dudley said the city engineer and others were “well aware” of his misgivings about the firm, but he wasn’t surprised nobody addressed his concerns.
“I’ve learned that what the mayor thinks doesn’t matter,” he said jokingly.
Still, Dudley said he’s very pleased with Stowell’s presentation to the council on the issue and the fact that he gave the council the option of looking at other firms.