Staff asked to ex­plain $ 1⁄ mblowout 4

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By ADEN MILES

South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil staff have been asked to ex­plain how a project’s bud­get had blown out by more than $250,000. Dur­ing a Community and As­sets Com­mit­tee meet­ing last week, coun­cil­lors learned the bud­get for the Toko­roa Waste­water Treat­ment Plant sludge up­grade, which was set at $ 610,000, had risen to $866,476.

The plant up­grade in­cludes the in­stal­la­tion of a cen­trifuge dryer.

Ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil, the ex­ist­ing way of dry­ing of biosolids (sludge) on site is not en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

The biosolids are forced to dry­ing beds, where the mois­ture ei­ther evap­o­rates or soaks into the ground.

Af­ter 100 days, the sub­stance re­main­ing is trans­ported to the land­fill for dis­posal.

Op­tions were con­sid­ered for al­ter­na­tive treat­ment of biosolids and do­ing away with the dry­ing beds. The best op­tion de­ter­mined for the quan­ti­ties of biosolids pro­duced was to in­stall a cen­trifuge dryer at the waste­water plant.

The bud­get was put to­gether be­fore the de­sign was com­pleted and the equip­ment was pur­chased be­fore the ten­der process was com­pletely set­tled.

The project was split into three ten­ders. The first two ten­ders were for the sup­ply of equip­ment, the first be­ing for the sup­ply of the cen­trifuge and sludge con­veyor and the sec­ond for the sup­ply of a poly­mer dos­ing sys­tem.

The third is for the in­stal­la­tion of the equip­ment.

Dur­ing last week’s meet­ing, the coun­cil’s group as­sets man­ager Roger Fisher was bom­barded with

I would like a full ex­pla­na­tion to all the coun­cil­lors about how the ten­der process works . . .

Mayor Neil Sin­clair

ques­tions from coun­cil­lors ask­ing him to ex­plain the blowout.

‘‘We put out the con­tract, the de­signs, build, and prices that came in were quite a bit more than what we had ini­tially bud­geted [for] . . . be­cause we didn’t un­der­stand what the needs of this equip­ment would be,’’ he said. ‘‘It was just an un­der­es­ti­mate.’’ Coun­cil­lor Adri­enne Bell asked: ‘‘We are told that the to­tal cost now is $866,000 and then a con­tract has been awarded for $493,000, what is the $373,000?’’

Mr Fisher re­sponded: ‘‘That was the pur­chase of the equip­ment, the main equip­ment.’’

Mayor Neil Sin­clair also raised his con­cerns.

‘‘Given the sta­tus of what is tak- ing place with our RAL con­tract . . . I would like a full ex­pla­na­tion to all the coun­cil­lors about how the ten­der process works be­cause I don’t think we all quite grasp what takes place when bud­gets are granted.

‘‘ I don’t know that when I passed the bud­get for this project, I recog­nised that the de­sign wasn’t com­plete and that it could well be out by 25 per cent and that is a heck of a lot. I would like some rea­son for that ex­pe­di­ency to ac­tu­ally do that bud­get. We as coun­cil­lors need to know bet­ter in terms of the ten­der process and what there­fore takes place.

‘‘When the con­tracts come in, I would hate to think that ev­ery ten­der process, that coun­cil­lors are expected to read the whole ten­der doc­u­ment to see whether the right things are tak­ing place.’’

The mayor’s ref­er­ence to the RAL refers to a High Court de­ci­sion which found the coun­cil had not fol­lowed proper ten­der­ing pro­vi­sions, from which the coun­cil was or­dered to pay $380,230 to RAL, an un­suc­cess­ful ten­derer, for breach­ing a pre­lim­i­nary con­tract.

The coun­cil says it is ap­peal­ing the de­ci­sion ( South Waikato News, Au­gust 22, 2012.)

Coun­cil­lor Her­man van Rooi­jen was not sat­is­fied with Mr Fisher’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion and pro­posed to halt the project. ‘‘I’m cer­tainly not con­vinced my­self that this has been prop­erly jus­ti­fied,’’he said.

Ques­tions were also asked if the project was too far along to be halted.

It was moved and sec­onded that the short­fall of $256,476 be funded from the waste­water de­pre­ci­a­tion re­serve and that the third ten­der be awarded to Spar­tan Con­struc­tion for $493,241.56 (GST ex­clu­sive).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.