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Special meeting slated to discuss plant upgrades

July 16, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Wednesday to decide whether it will pay its engineer $289,360 to continue designing upgrades to its sewage treatment plant.

Board Chairman Curtis Myers recommended the board meet again before deciding what to do, in hopes that by Wednesday, the township will know if it has received a $3.4 million state grant for the project, which is an ARRA Green Project.

The "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" (ARRA) provides funding in the form of grants for a wide variety of potential applicants to accomplish work in support of water quality and drinking water quality efforts.

So far, Antrim Township has paid its engineer, Brinjac Engineering of Harrisburg, Pa., $67,000 to design the $4.17 million project.

Engineer Steve Zeller approached the board months ago about applying for the state grant as an ARRA Green Project to upgrade its sewage treatment plant with an additional digester and a solar sludge drying unit.

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When the township gave Zeller's firm the green light to apply for the grant and design the project, both Brinjac and the township assumed engineering was covered by the grant.

Neither engineering nor any element not considered "green" are covered by the grant, Zeller said.

Likewise, the $67,000 the board agreed to pay Brinjac in May has been spent, he said.

Myers said he was concerned with the high price being quoted by Brinjac to finish the engineering.

On Tuesday, Zeller said his firm is asking an additional $222,360 to finish the project, a $243,040 discount from the firm's initial asking rate of $456,400.

"This project is on a very tight timeline," he said. "We will have 10 engineers working full time to get this shovel ready by the Oct. 1 deadline."

Zeller explained his firm bills clients a percentage of a project's cost based on the complexity of the project.

For Antrim Township, Zeller said his firm has agreed to bill a flat rate of $222,360 to finish what already has been started.

Regardless if the township receives the grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority or is approved for a loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST), it still will have to pay to engineer the project. Antrim could be eligible for the loan if it is not granted the money.

Supervisor James Byers suggested waiting two weeks and making a decision at the board's next regularly scheduled meeting in July.

Waiting would make it impossible to finish the project on time if the grant is approved, Zeller said.

The board will meet at 5 p.m. at the Antrim Township Municipal Building on Antrim Church Road to discuss the project.

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