Nov 15, 2011 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The village board of trustees at its Nov. 10 meeting approved a proposal to publicly bid on contracting replacement parts for the Skaneateles Wastewater Treatment Plant that may cost $500,000.
The needed parts — three or possibly four Rotational Biological Contactors, or RBCs — cost $400,000 to $600,000, but are essential to the operations of the wastewater treatment plant.
Currently, one of the four RBCs is broken, one is the sister machine to the broken one and therefore causes concern that it too may break, and the other two RBCs are more than 30 years old and “are beyond their useful life,” according to Village Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowictz.
“We can’t wait, we’re running on three now,” Lotkowicz told the village board of trustees on Nov. 10.
The wastewater treatment plant must have two RBCs working at all times in order to keep the plant running effectively.
Lotkowicz’s report was the latest in a string of updates to the board since the RBC No. 2 broke this past August.
RBCs are 26-feet-long by 12-feet-wide cylinder-shaped pieces of equipment, made mostly of plastic, that continually rotate, passing waste water through the liners, thereby removing anaerobic bacteria (organic materials and ammonia) out of the water. The RBC process is one step in the total village water treatment process.
RBCs are supposed to last for typically 20 years, although they are only guaranteed for one year. The broken RBC is only 10 years old, but it cannot be repaired because the manufacturing company is out of business, Lotkowicz said.
At the last village board meeting on Oct. 27, Lotkowicz told the trustees it would be necessary to purchase replacement RBCs, and, given the time it would take to acquire and then install the parts, they should start looking into it immediately. Mayor Marty Hubbard asked Lotkowicz to prepare specifications and cost estimates for such replacements to present at the next board meeting.
Lotkowicz presented his findings to the board on Nov. 10, and urged the replacement of three and possibly all four RBCs. He said the village works with “at least” three vendors they feel will bid for the work and therefore make it a competitive bidding process.
The bids will be for the RBC equipment only, not for the installation, which will be done by village DPW employees, Lotkowicz said.
The installation is typically a three-day process which will require the removal of the plant’s concrete roof and supporting metal beams, and the use of a crane to remove the old RBCs and install the new ones.
Hubbard said there is sufficient funding in the village accounts to pay for the RBCs without the need for bonding.
“This will be just the regular replacement of pieces of equipment,” he said.
The board agreed to bid for three new RBCs, but if the bids come in low enough they will reserve the option to add a fourth.
If the bids are considered too high, the board can reject them all and start the bidding process again.
The RBC bidding will be open until 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28. The board will open the bids at its meeting that night.
New RBCs will take 12 weeks to manufacture and deliver, making the likely installation date sometime in March, Lotkowicz said.
Also at the meeting:
—Village trustee Marc Angellilo announced that a labor arbitrator recently ruled in favor of the village in a dispute between the village and the Civil Service Employees Association concerning health insurance coverage for village employees.
In January 2011, the village changed its health insurance plan from an Excellus EPO plan to another Excellus plan called Healthy Blue. The CSEA objected to the change as one not authorized by the village to make under its collective bargaining agreement. Specifically, the union said the village could change an insurance carrier but not an insurance plan. The union filed a grievance and demanded arbitration.
The arbitrator’s decision, issued on Oct. 28, concluded that the village did not violate the collective bargaining agreement because the product being offered to employees “remains substantially similar.”
The village and the union have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement since May, when the previous agreement expired. One sticking point was the health insurance issue, but now, with the arbitrator’s decision, it is hoped an agreement may come in the “near future,” according to Angellilo.
—The board is considering changing the payment kiosks in the municipal parking lot to accepting credit cards, which it currently does not. The board also is giving “serious consideration” to upgrading the Fennell Street parking lot to be repaved and remarked for spaces, and also to include a mixture of paid and non-paid parking similar to the municipal lot.
—The trustees approved a resolution to verify that upcoming village elections for two town board seats will be held on March 20, 2012, and notices to that effect will be published in the local newspapers.
—Trustee Sue Jones encouraged all members of the town board to consider donating their time to volunteer for the Salvation Army as a red donation kettle bell ringer during the annual Dickens Christmas celebration downtown. “It might make a statement to the community if we all do it,” Jones said. Bell-ringing shifts this year are scheduled to last for one hour each. Last year, the Salvation Army raised $4,380 through its Skaneateles Red Kettle Campaign.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.