City’s outside hire says sewer project is on track

The part-time project manager hired to oversee the completion of Oak Harbor’s sewage treatment plant said the project is “tracking and on-schedule.”

Gary Goltz, hired by the mayor and city council in May after a number of cost overruns, updated the council at its regular meeting Wednesday night.

Goltz said all “outstanding items to date have been satisfactorily addressed.”

“I like what I see so far,” Goltz said.

He said recent efforts and changes have resulted in over $100,000 in savings. These reductions include changing the material of light poles, the material of the automatic gate and finding a less expensive product to use on top of the Odor Control Structure.

“I’ve earned the the reputation as someone who’s watching the beans,” he told the council.

Project Engineer Brett Arvidson said later at the meeting that the budget still stands at $148 million and, as of June 30, $155 million had been spent. Arvidson also said the project is on schedule and sewage should start being treated in September.

He said this start date might “slip a week” because of difficulties caused by steel tariffs.

“They are getting some harsh words about keeping on schedule,” he said of the supplier.

In response to the series of cost increases, Mayor Severns had requested an outside company to do an analysis of the project a couple of months ago.

He said at Wednesday’s meeting he put the analysis on hold because he found staff’s explanations of the costs satisfactory and thought they would likely be “part or most” of the analysis.

Severns said if Goltz finds “areas of concerns” he will have the consultant research those particular areas.

He also said another audit of the project will be required before project completion.

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