by Lisa Tome
Building contractor Howard Robson isn't abandoning the not yet completed wastewater treatment plant in Rising Sun.
"They are not pulling 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.
Robson cited that work on the project has been suspended since May 2013. "It is undisputed that the Owner suspended all critical work on the project since May 1. 2013, more than ten months ago. In fact, at the express direction of Owner and CDM, no work is being prosecuted."
Other reasons cited in the document for Robson's desire to pull out are "The Endless Redesigns" which they believe constitute an abandonment and/or cardinal change. Robson also demands financial assurance.
The document also states that the overall project costs will definitely exceed $10.5 million. And that the project won't be completed until November 2015.
Walker said the matter has been handled by attorneys. He also said he expects the project to be completed in July 2015.
Walker, who took over as water and sewer commissioner late in 2013, said, "I'm disgusted with the project.”
He also said the slow pace of the work has him frustrated.
"He said the town, town attorneys, and the USDA, which is providing the financing for the sewer plant have gotten involved in this dispute and worked to mitigate it.
"The MDE (Maryland Department of the Environment - which has the town under consent order for a non-compliant sewer system) is working with us to the mayor's dismay. He (Mayor Fisher) does everything he can to cause the town trouble," said Walker.
While he has announced that the project will be completed by July 2015, Walker said he is certain that it will be finished by the time the financing expires in November 2015.
"This has been taken care of. If the mayor would work with us, he'd know that.
“He wants to cause me problems. There is no problem. This has been handled, taken care of. One of the main reasons this is not done is due to the mayor's injunction," said Walker.
"The town has been very diligent in handling the problems at the sewer plant. Any construction project is going to have problems."
In March, Walker announced that the Town has $4 million left to see the project to fruition.