EATON — The Preble County Board of Commissioners is in danger of losing grant money from the Army Corps of Engineers for the Glenwood Sewer District Six (SD6) project.
During a previous meeting, the board decided to move forward with the grant funding for design purposes. However, it required getting plans from CDM Smith which had been delayed from the original deadline of October.
Commissioners received those plans on Friday, Dec. 14, but due to inaccuracies, the plans are not ready to be used for the project with the Army Corps of Engineers. During the commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 19, the board entertained a conference call with representatives from CDM Smith to express their displeasure with the situation.
“We’re here to discuss the report, where we’re at, what is in the report and the timeliness of what we have. The problem we have, because it has taken so long, our Army Corps of Engineer money is probably not going to be here. [Representatives] from the corps are checking, but they are not overly optimistic,” Commissioner Chris Day said.
“In looking at the report we got on Friday, I have gone through it but haven’t drilled into it completely, there were some inconsistencies there and even the folks from the corps had some concerns. I will give you time this time to address that.”
“When we looked through the report that was sent in on Friday, we believe that part of the confusion may of occurred from an old IBI Report that was included in the supplemental information within the appendix. Sometimes we send these as PDF documents and it is hard to tell what is part of the document proper and what is part of the appendix,” Andrew Bohlen with CDM Smith’s Cincinnati office said.
“In essence, there is a section six in the appendix that looks very similar to our section six and appears to have some inconsistencies. When I viewed the report beyond that, everything seemed consistent with our report proper. Besides the appendix, everything seems to go well together, be well researched, and well written. I believe it was poorly written.”
He added, the board was sent a updated report that morning with a corrected appendix.
When asked about the delay on the project, Fred Smith with CDM Smith replied, “We got caught in the swirl of a bunch of things. We have thoroughly reviewed everything and have a strong document. We were doing last minute checking on it and as we were reviewing in early December I had a gentleman helping me who got very sick. He actually ended up in the hospital and I wanted him to get through the last review before we sent it in.
“He came back that Thursday and we submitted the document on Friday morning. We were pretty close on the report before that, but that was one of the last things we wanted to get done.”
Commissioner Day pointed out, the draft was supposed to be provided to the board by Oct. 26. They got that draft on Friday after weeks of calling with no response from Fred Smith. Now, the commissioners are faced with possibly losing their funding.
Other concerns with the document included:
•The lack of West Alexandria’s involvement in the document. Estimates were provided within the document, but no leadership of West Alexandria was consulted before CDM Smith provided this document. According to Commissioner Rodney Creech, the possibility of partnering with West Alexandria was supposed to be included in the plans.
•The projected amount from the Army Corps of Engineers was actually reported incorrectly within the document.
“I think you can see our frustration at this point. I took [the report] over the weekend, but haven’t really had an opportunity to look over it. Hearing all of our frustrations, one of the biggest things was the lack of communication,” Day said. “I don’t know, moving forward, what direction we go in. I am very disappointed.”
Bohlen promised to provide the board with a letter of commitment. He also recommended a new point person out of the Cincinnati office. They will be meeting again in the new year to discuss how to move forward.
After the meeting, Administrative Assistant Julie Miller shared, the Army Corps of Engineers did get back to her with an answer. The person behind extensions is out of the office until the first of the year. They have to wait until then to see if a delay or extension on the project will be possible. This gives the commissioners time to decide if they want to move forward with CDM Smith or start over with a new company.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH