by Lisa Tome
For the second time since it started, a major player in Rising Sun's sewer project has pulled out.
Early on in the project, engineer RKK left and was replaced by CDM Smith. Now, contractor Howard Robson has vacated the site.
"We thought it was worked out," said Rising Sun water and sewer commission George Walker.
On March 28, Mayor Bob Fisher, town administrator Calvin Bonenberger, a project engineer from CDM Smith - the wastewater plant's engineering firm, and the town clerk received a seven-page document entitled "Notice of Intent to Terminate Construction Contract", which was signed by an official from Howard Robson, Inc. The document outlined a laundry list of issues with the plant construction, some of which Walker said are not accurate.
Walker worked to iron out those issues and thought Robson would stay on the job. A week later, the Town was notified by letter that Robson was leaving.
"With the first letter, I was upset and concerned. But since they went ahead and did it, in the long run it might be better," said Walker.
Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing the loan for the work, they have a say in how a replacement contractor is hired. The town began advertising for a new contractor last week. "We have quite a few contractors interested and saying they can complete it quicker than Robson. This may be best in the long run. At the thought of them leaving, I'm getting used to the idea," said Walker.
The clock is ticking on this project. The Town is under consent order to get the project completed. It also must be finished before the Fall 2015 deadline and before the funding expires. "According to the last figures (from the town accountant) we have $4 million left. That's enough, plenty, we think," said Walker. "Based on what the engineer is telling us, we have enough money unless something major that we're not aware of happens."
Walker said this has left him optimistic.
"I feel positive that this will be better for the town. I don't think it will cost that much more. I'm no expert but I've been upset for four months about what's going on. The first four months of this project (his tenure) I was listening and learning," said Walker. "We're going to advertise, open bids, pick a new contractor and get it done, on time, we think," he added. "I'm taking a more active role in what's going on."