$15 mil­lion more OK’D for plant

Much of added cost for en­vi­ron­men­tal, neigh­bor­hood con­cerns, mayor says.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - By Mar­tytoohey mtoohey@states­man.com Plant B

The Austin City Coun­cil ap­proved an ex­tra $15.5 mil­lion Thurs­day for a $508 mil­lion water-treat­ment plant un­der con­struc­tion near Lake Travis, but not be­fore some coun­cil mem­bers dis­agreed about whether the coun­cil was mis­led about whether the con­trac­tor would be re­quired to cover ad­di­tional costs.

“We need and ex­pect our dis­cus­sions of cost to be more ex­plicit,” Coun­cil Mem­ber Kathie Tovo said.

Mayor Lee Lefingwell said he was aware con­struc­tion costs could rise and said much of the in­crease was be­cause of changes such as beefed up en­vi­ron­men­tal and neigh­bor- hood pro­tec­tions.

“I re­mem­ber say­ing, at the time, that we re­al­ize there could be changes,” Lefingwell said.

Still, City Man­ager Marc Ott said the city staff should have done a bet­ter job com­mu­ni­cat­ing de­tails of the project, the largest city con­struc­tion project since Austin-Bergstrom In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

“It was not the staff’s in­tent nor mine to mis­lead the coun­cil or the pub­lic in any way,” Ott said. “We do apolo- gize, and as city man­ager, I take re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

In 2009, a split coun­cil hired MWH Con­struc­tors as a “con­struc­tion man­ager at risk” that hires and su­per­vises the sub­con­trac­tors do­ing the con­struc­tion. Most coun­cil mem­bers said they be­lieved that MWH was on the hook for any cost in­creases.

That turned out not to be the case. Early last month, the

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.