Lexington Council Might Let Engineers, Administrators Resolve Small Cost Overruns

Nov 12, 2013

Credit Zen Sutherland / Flickr, Creative Commons
Given the scope of Lexington’s sewer overhaul, the paperwork could overwhelm the council.  Currently, it must approve many changes because usually there’s also an increased cost.  But, some of that responsibility could be shifted onto Lexington’s administrators.

Since a change in plans almost always increases the cost of a project, Lexington’s council has always approved revisions.  However, as the community upgrades its storm and wastewater sewage system, these so-called change-orders are almost more than the council can handle.  And, if they’re not careful, program manager Vernon Azevedo says there can be a negative public black lash."We think of cost over-runs, poor project management.  And for you as elected officials, perhaps you are saying, ‘am I doing my job, if I approve this change order as being a good steward of the public’s money,” said Azevedo.Some council members say city administrators and engineers may be better qualified to make those smaller decisions.  Plus, by allowing them to a make a quick decision, Council member Ed Lane believes the city could save time and money.“Well I think it’s gonna save the taxpayer’s money, cause we’ll accelerate the construction process.  Every time we have a change order, it probably delays us two to three weeks, cause of the delay in getting the change order approved.  Time is money in construction,” explained Lane.  Since major changes would still go before Council, Lane doesn’t believe the new review process would result in excessive spending. The proposal now goes on to the full Council.