Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

October 9, 2012

Water treatment project bids higher than expected

City council to consider new timekeeping system purchase tonight

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — A project to update aged equipment and add new disinfection equipment at the Holiday Hills water treatment plant may cost the city more than anticipated.

The city council had expected a total cost of $1.7 million, but bids put the basic project at $1.9 million and an additional $600,000 to upgrade the electrical system.

Jerry Kerley, water resources director, said, "We've been working on this for a few years, and as the years go by, it keeps getting higher."

The electrical system is outdated, using a three-phase system with one of the three wires acting as a ground and conducting current.

"It's kind of unsafe," Kerley said. "The tester shows one wire is the ground and doesn't have power, but it's hot and a ground and has about 480 volts."

At least one electrical contractor in Crossville will not work on the system due to safety concerns.

Transformers that work with this type system are becoming more difficult to find as they are no longer being manufactured. The new system would have four wires, with one acting as a ground wire with no current.

"In the near future, they might be harder to come up with and take a month or 45 days to find," Kerley said. "We can't go without that plant for a month."

Most of the electrical system is 45 years old, like much of the equipment that is to be updated in the project.

City Manager Bruce Wyatt said that, while it would cost more to do the upgrade if it were delayed, the project could be put off for a time without compromising the plant.

Tim Begley, public works supervisor, said VEC did have a suitable transformer available right now. However, other facilities the city operates can be operated with a generator in the event of an extended power failure but that was not an option at the Holiday Hills facility.

Funding is available for the project, with the water and sewer savings account projected to have a $4.5 million balance in the next few months.

The project would also install a carbon feed system for disinfection and byproduct removal to meet water quality standards. Much of the rest of the project will provide new floculators and filter bottoms and repair aging concrete at the plant.

The council asked for more information to be gathered on the project for further review before a decision is made. Mayor J.H. Graham III wanted to look at the original project specifications and the current specifications to see what changes had been made.

The council is set to meet tonight at 6 p.m. and will discuss other projects underway, including bridges and handrails at Meadow Park Lake and the final change order for the dam repair project.

Also on the agenda is a new timekeeping system for city employees. The city has purchased new computer servers to replace older hardware, but the timekeeping system has not been moved to the new equipment because the vendor, Kronos, wanted $14,055 to assist in the move. The city has paid yearly maintenance costs of $10,000 to $12,000. With the request for an additional payment, the city began taking proposals from other vendors and Finance Director Fred Houston has recommended the Qqest system at a cost of $21,950 for the initial investment and annual maintenance costs of $1,910. The new system would give employees the option to clock-in from their computer and eliminate the need for some of the hardware-based time clocks.

Other items on the agenda tonight include purchase of a mini-excavotor and one-ton truck for the Catoosa Water Department, and the UV disinfection project at the waste water treatment plant.

Ordinances proposed for third and final reading include annexation of 26.54 acres on Woodlawn Rd. and budget amendments for the solid waste garbage pick-up, City Invitational Golf Tournament and matching funds for the raw water supply study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The council will meet as the audit committee at 5:30 p.m. at Crossville City Hall, and the regular meeting follows at 6 p.m. The council will meet as the beer board at 6:30 p.m.