The Ketchikan City Council in its regular meeting Thursday is set to consider accepting a bid by BAM construction to replace the Schoenbar Road raw water transmission main for a total of $6.6 million, including a 10% contingency cost.
According to a memo attached to the meeting agenda written by Acting City of Ketchikan Manager Lacey Simpson, the council in adopting the 2021 budget appropriated $7.1 million to the Schoenbar water mains capital account. The revenue was supplied through a $7.6 million Alaska Drinking Water loan authorized by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
BAM was the sole bidder on the raw water transmission main project, and the company’s bid was $1.4 million higher than the cost that had been estimated by the engineering firm DOWL, which created the design plan.
Simpson explained in her memo that “the elevated cost is likely in direct response to a variety of factors including the availability and volatility of construction materials and the project’s complexity and schedule.”
A memo written by Assistant Water Division Manager Seth Brakke mentioned that the availability of the HDPE material the new pipe will be made of is dependent on petroleum.
In addition, “major manufacturers have been impacted by recent extreme weather events including Hurricane Ida,” he wrote. He added that pressures related to the COVID-19 pandemic also are expected to cause slow downs in production and shipping.
Simpson's memo reminded council members of the “numerous” times that the main has failed in recent years, illustrating the urgent need to replace the line before “more catastrophic and impactful failures occur.”
Additional factors causing complications and increased costs for the construction company are scheduling strictures due to the work area occurring on Schoenbar Middle School and Ketchikan Charter School property.
Brakke also explained that since the raw water main replacement project will require use of the entire loan amount available, the second portion of the overarching project — which includes water distribution and wastewater gravity collection piping in the Schoebar Road area — will have to be put on hold, and a separate loan application will have to be made.
In addition to the amount that would be paid to BAM if the motion is approved at Thursday’s meeting, $1.14 million already has been spent on the design, geotechnical exploration and procurement of long lead-time materials such as 42-inch butterfly valves and fittings, Brakke wrote.
With those amounts expended for the contractor and the prior costs, Brakke explained that also included in the main motion to hire BAM is a request to approve a budget transfer of $176,817 from Ketchikan Public Utilities appropriated reserves to the Water Division to cover the full cost of the raw water main replacement project.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, the council will consider approving resolutions to honor City of Ketchikan Mayor Bob Sivertsen, Council Member Sam Bergeron and City Payroll Coordinator Terry Sivertsen for their service to the city.
Sivertsen and Bergeron declined to run to retain their seats on the council this term, and Terry Sivertsen retired on Sept. 30 after 18 years working in the city’s Finance Department.
Another motion for approval on Thursday concerns the appointment of Simpson as acting city and KPU manager, following the Sept. 1 retirement of Karl Amylon. In an executive session in the council meeting of Sept. 9, it was proposed that she hold the position “not to exceed one year contingent upon compensation.”
If the motion is approved as presented, Simpson would receive an annual salary of $204,409 in addition to the use of the dedicated take-home vehicle attached to that position for business purposes, effective Sept. 1.
The council on Thursday also is set to approve the members of the City of Ketchikan Naming of Public Facilities citizen review panel.
Mayor Sivertsen has proposed five individuals to fill the panel: Council members Mark Flora, Judy Zenge and Dave Kiffer (who has been elected as the new city mayor), as well as community members Sharon Thompson and Bridget Norton.
The three public facilities Sivertsen noted as candidates for renaming are the park on Front Street, to be named the “Len Laurance Memorial Park;” the City Council chambers in City Hall, to be named the “Lew Williams Council Chambers;” and the City Hall building to be named the “Karl R. Amylon Building.”
Other items that the council is set to consider Thursday include:
● Declaring an aging Ketchikan Fire Department ladder truck and fire boat, the Harry Newell, as surplus property.
● A motion to authorize Simpson to offer the city finance department’s controller position to Shawn Hart of Wisconsin for an annual salary of $115,650 in addition of moving expenses not to exceed $15,000.
● Consideration of approving a joint resolution with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and City of Saxman opposing a statewide sales tax. The Borough Assembly in its meeting Monday voted against joining the resolution.
The City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.
The meeting can be viewed live via the KPU cable television service, on the City of Ketchikan YouTube channel, on the City of Ketchikan’s Facebook page and also on the City of Ketchikan website at http://www.ktn-ak.us/current-agendas-and-minutes.