Dunsmuir launches $5.8 million sewer project

Richard DuPertuis

The long anticipated Dunsmuir Wastewater Collection & Treatment Improvement Project was launched Thursday when the city council voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with PACE Engineering for planning, design, and construction management.

Councilors also approved an amendment to the 2011-12 budget and made a revision to a proposed Planning Commission downtown revitalization program, paring the number of members of the team inspecting historic properties.

The PACE agreement followed months of fretting over what might be taking the Clean Water State Revolving Fund so long to approve a $5.8 million 75% forgiveness loan, then another couple months of moving papers around after approval was received.

Interim City Manager Brenda Bains said PACE Engineering will be paid $991,000 for their part in the $5.8 million sewer project. According to a cost summary PACE included in the proposed agreement, $4,733,000 is budgeted for construction, $61,000 for project administration, and another $1 million for value engineering.

Asked about a time frame, Tom Warnock, principal engineer at PACE, said they still need to have the plan reviewed by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and the California Water Resources Control Board. He estimated the project would be ready for bid between January and March, and a contractor ready to go in June or July, “when the weather's good.”

Warnock said the project will result in an acceptable effluent, or discharge from the sewer treatment plant into the Sacramento River. “We have to do it pursuant to the Clean Water SRF requirements,” he said. “We'll go beyond what they're actually requiring. The Cease and Desist order will go away.”

A project schedule included with the agreement calls for the project to be completed by October 2014.

Budget shortfall

Bains reported an unexpected shortfall in the General Fund. “We believed at the end of this year, June 30, 2012, we would have $27,262 left over after we received all of our revenue and paid all of our expenses,” she said. Because revenues were low, “We're ending the year with a deficit of almost $82,000.”

She listed a series of expenses that contributed to the shortfall, including part of the ballpark grandstand repair that wasn’t reimbursed by insurance. She said the Fire Department is $30,000 over budget, “due to costs associated with the FEMA grant.” About half of that was spent constructing a building to house the new equipment the Fire Department purchased with the grant. Other costs included removing trees, restoration work on the library, and the destruction of a house declared a public nuisance.

“What's happened to the General Fund is unfortunate,” said Bains. “And I believe it is going to take a while for the city to recover from this past year of overspending.”

She said this would be the last amendment for the 2011-12 budget, and she expects to submit the new budget to the city council next month.

Revitalization program revised

After consideration of extending a proposed downtown revitalization program to all properties on Dunsmuir Avenue, the city accepted the Planning Commission's recommendation to restrict it to the historic district area.

“I think the area outside of the historic district is being taken care of by the anti-blight program,” said Councilor Nick Mitchell. “I would hate to expand the power of the city to come by and tell me that I have to paint my house close to the color of the house next to me.”

Bains said the planning commission wants to revive a 2009 downtown revitalization program to encourage owners of historic properties to keep their facades in good repair.

Planning commissioner Dick Kelby said the new plan would also extend the beautification effort into the downtown buffer zone, which he said is 300 feet in any direction from the boundaries of the central historic district.

Councilors changed the proposal to have the inspection team include a member of the city council, a member of the chamber of commerce, a citizen at large, the code enforcement officer, and the city building inspector.

Instead it will be a planning commission member, the code enforcement officer, and the building inspector.

The next scheduled meeting of the Dunsmuir City Council is scheduled for June 21, 2012 at 6 p.m. in council chambers.