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Counting the Sewer Improvement Cost
Lexington’s effort to redo much of its sanitary and storm water sewer systems brings with it the cost of hiring consultants. The most recent engineering contract presented to Lexington’s council was for a half-million dollars. Council member Ed Lane says it deserves close scrutiny. “This should be the highest due diligence of our council is to make sure that our process is protecting our taxpayers and ratepayers and make sure we’re getting a fair return on our investment,” said Lane. Mayor Jim Gray agrees….saying city officials are closely tracking expenses.
“I’m comfortable that they are asking the right questions of themselves. We are examining the addition of personnel, skilled personnel where we need it,” said Gray.
Much of the work thus far has been done by engineers, working up a plan which should fix sanitary and storm water sewers. Charlie Martin, who directs the Lexington’s Water and Air Quality Division, heads the effort. It’ll take a decade to finish the work and council members worry they’ll lose people like Martin to retirement or other jobs. For his part, Martin says he faces a similar predicament.
“I have the same concerns that you guys do about me, because I’ve got key people, we all have certain people that we rely on as being our key go to folks. And as soon as you remove them from the equation, you’re got a management problem that you’ve got to wrestle to the ground,” added Martin.
The entire sewer improvement program, as mandated by the federal government, carries a half billion dollar price tag. It’s expected to take about a decade to complete and should bring Lexington into compliance with the nation’s environmental standards.