City water meter replacement project hits $800K glitch

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SHERIDAN — The once seamless water meter replacement project for the city of Sheridan hit a more than $800,000 setback because a state requirement for the project was not included in the initial request for proposal.

Mueller Systems of Cleveland, North Carolina, won the bid to manage and implement the project for $3,139,938.89 back in March.

Project manager Chad Lynn said while developing the RFP, the city building department discussed specific licensing requirements for a plumber and electrician and whether or not state statute required a low-voltage electrician to assist in completing the project.

“The determination that was made and the language that we used in the RFP specifically said that a low-voltage license wasn’t required,” project manager Chad Lynn said to Sheridan City Council during its study session Monday. “They were not aware of that requirement.”

While Mueller solicited subcontractors for the project, Lynn said the question came up about a low-voltage licensing requirement.

After more internal discussion, the group contacted the Wyoming state fire marshal to get another determination on that specific requirement.

The Wyoming state fire marshal confirmed that Wyoming state statute requires an electrician with a low-voltage license on these types of projects.

“Wyoming statutes for this particular requirement are quite a bit more stringent in other states, and they’re a little bit vague,” Lynn relayed from the fire marshal. “Statute is lagging behind the technology that is out there.”

The cost to the city through subcontractors Keystone Technologies totals $882,054.87 higher than the schedule of values Mueller provided to the city and Sheridan Area Water Supply joint powers board. Out of that total added pricing, $861,500 of it was due to meeting the state statutory requirements for installations of low-voltage electrical work.

Mueller Systems, once the setback is resolved, will start replacing the water meters in and around Sheridan. The new meters will enable customers to track and regulate water usage. Courtesy | City of Sheridan

“We don’t know exactly where we would need that low-voltage technician; it’s just a guess at this point,” Lynn said. “The intent is to begin installation and revisit the issue a month into it and see exactly what resources are required for them to fulfill that requirement.”

An additional option for Mueller or Keystone to license its own electrician is in process but not guaranteed.

Mayor Roger Miller asked to postpone the project until the city could explore potential money-saving options.

“As far as I can see, Mayor, if we specifically in the document we released to the public for bids specifically said you will not need a low-voltage certified installer, if we said that, the executed contract based upon that document and low and behold we were wrong, we’re on the hook for it,” councilman Alex Lee said. “If everything I’ve asked you is complete and accurate, which I believe it is, here we are. Now all we’d be doing is postponing installation, am I correct?”

City administrator Mark Collins requested the change order be put on hold until further options were discussed.

“We’re using public dollars, we’re using state dollars on this, so it’s of interest to all of us if we can find a way we can do this that’s not going to cost this much,” Collins said. “We’ve got other state players that we want to maximize their dollars, too, and make sure this does not run over.”

Council did not pass the change order and awaits further options before making a final decision going forward.

By |September 12th, 2017|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the government, cops and courts reporter. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, MT. Email Ashleigh at: ashleigh.fox@thesheridanpress.com

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