Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Algonquin Board To Start Replacement Of Water, Sewer Controls
Utilities Superintendent Andy Warmus told the Board problems Sunday were a good illustration when storms knocked out both Well Number One, run by the current control system, and the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which uses a local system similar to the one contemplated for the entire Village. "Unit One took 35 minutes to reset," said Warmus. At the wastewater plant, however, "It took me five minutes using my laptop."
Public Works Director Bob Mitchard said current control system software's so outdated some of it's still written in DOS while the hardware's so old that some parts have to be sourced on eBay. "We were ahead of the times," when the current system was installed in 1996, said Mitchard. "Now we're behind the times."
Trustees seemed willing to accept that. It was the no-bid part that troubled, for instance, Trustee Bob Smith. How the Village could be sure of a good price without bidding he asked? Mitchard replied an integrated control system isn't the sort of thing that lends itself to reverse auction. "Most of it is for services," added Village Manager Bill Ganek, "not for product. You're not just buying equipment."
Smith was either reassured or just playing devil's advocate all along. "Sure," he analogized. "You don't low-bid your heart surgeon." The Board passed the proposal along for final approval later.
In a somewhat related move, the Board gave initial assent to refinancing a stack of 2005 sewer bonds. Finance Director Jack Walde said current low interest rates would probably save the Village $600,000 over the 12 years left on them. Ganek later commented that wouldn't pay the cost of the new water and sewer control system but said it would help.
Trustees also gave first approval to paying this year's interest on the sewer bonds and some wastewater ones with other Village income instead of property taxes. "This action keeps our tax bill at a lower rate," said Ganek.
In the pic: Consultants report Algonquin's water and sewer control systems are too outdated and patched-together to last much longer.