MINUTES FOR THE SPECIAL MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 22, 2014
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Talent Ashland Phoenix Pipeline Intertie Project update
City Administrator Dave Kanner introduced a video regarding Ashland’s water supply. Mandatory conservation would not work at this time, the reservoir was full, and there was no place to store the water.
The snowpack was the lowest the area had ever seen. In previous drought years, the City supplemented the water supply with Talent Irrigation District (TID) water. This year TID was planning to shut water off in September because they did not have enough to sustain customers until the rains returned in the fall. Ashland needed 1.5 million gallons a day (mgd) to meet basic needs along with another 1 mgd in the streams for fish. It was possible there would not be enough water to meet basic needs and that was the impetus in expediting the Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) Intertie Project.
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained Council needed to approve the emergency construction of the TAP pipeline, using restricted fund monies associated with the Park Estates Pump station for the project, and grant the City Administrator contracting authority in excess of $100,000 for project construction and the ability to sign the State Revolving Loan for $2,970,000.
Jeff Ballard, the consulting engineer from RH2 explained his background and company’s expertise. The project was aggressive and challenging and he was confident they would meet the August deadline. The permitting process with the Rail Road, Army Corp, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) were underway. RH2 had better defined the project since March and established multiple options to ensure they met the target date for completion. The permit process was the most complicated part and pipe installation the easiest to accomplish. The increase in cost was due to creating the engineering estimate in a short timeframe prior to having all the information. Costs also included a 30% contingency because RH2 at that time was not confident they could complete the project by August.
Mr. Faught explained how the price went from $2,300,000 to $4,400,000. Increasing the flow from 1.5 mgd to 2.13 mgd was $400,000, the Pump Station was $150,000, upgrading pipe to ductile iron cost $250,000, the standard construction index for inflation was $210,000, and additional costs to move the project forward as an emergency project was $325,000. Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury added the contract contained a $600 fine per day for liquidated damages.
Mr. Ballard explained the regional booster pump station was designed to meet the capacity of Ashland at 1.5 mgd in 2000. Because Ashland did not tie on at that time, the controls were not set up to deliver that volume of water. They will modify the programming at the pump station to change the operation of the four pumps located at that facility. The communication and telemetry at the location was outdated and needed upgrading and was not included in the project due to the aggressive timeline. TAP would utilize the Talent pump station to pump water to Ashland and would require modifications to deliver 1.5 mgd or 2.13 mgd. The current lines were sufficient to carry 2.13 mgd. Capacity was directly proportional to velocity. Two 12-inch pipes came off the Talent pump station, split, and eventually connected to 16-inch pipeline. Even at 3 mgd the velocity was tolerable but not recommended, 2.13 mgd was fine. The City would have to upgrade pipe on their end for 3 mgd capacity and it would be expensive. Staff wanted options for 3 mgd for possible upgrades in 2060.
Mr. Ballard clarified RH2 had redundant management in place to serve in Mr. Ballard’s place if needed.
Kindler Stout/130 Orange Avenue/The public was not informed regarding project costs or present and future rate increases to pay for the project. He thought the public might get behind the project after a season of shortage. He had issue with the word “emergency.” The use of the word was designed to frighten the public and he equated it to extra costs. He urged Council not to advocate control of the water system out of town.
Cate Hartzell/881 East Main/Explained she opposed the project for years. Climate change predictions were being confirmed. TAP increased dependence on sources that would experience snow pack issues as well. The Water Master Plan talked about long-term solutions involving storage and conservation. She had issues with borrowing against capital projects and thought the $600 fine a day invited mistakes. Fear was motivating this response.
B.G. Hicks/190 Vista Street/Provided his background in geology, water wells, and the forest service. The City should conduct small scale testing for wells and research trapping the water that ran over the dam. Ashland had excellent underground reservoirs. Additionally a major geological consulting firm should be employed to do a study on wells and ground water. He questioned whether the town could afford two full supply systems. Connecting to TAP could endanger Ashland’s future use of ground water. Ashland had the potential for water and ground water currently not understood.
Mr. Ballard explained RH2 had the experience to minimize risk for projects in expedited timeframes. Mr. Faught added a City project manager would be involved as well. If Council did not approve the project, they would stop the project, continue with the engineering, and move it to its scheduled time in 2015. Several projects were postponed to cover the expedited costs for the TAP pipeline and avoid raising rates.
Staff was looking into permanent pumps and had diesel pumps secured as a back-up option. In the unlikely event the project was not in place, staff was developing multi-department contingency plans that included public notification, not planting new plants, and encouraging the public to do the same. Mr. Faught clarified the City had a robust conservation plan in place but a severe drought was about curtailment and not conservation.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to approve an emergency construction procurement of the TAP pipeline. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh explained the project was about building redundancy. The City was not obligated to purchase water. This was a way to provide multiple options for assuring the City could provide water to the community. Councilor Slattery added this was moving a project in the Water Master Plan up one year for sound reasons. Councilor Lemhouse agreed with Councilor Marsh and reiterated TAP was about redundancy. Had Council moved on this six years ago the City would not be in the position it is today. Rates might increase but to not do something that was in the best interest of City’s public safety due to rates was a difficult call. Councilor Voisin clarified that $325,000 of project costs was actually to pay for the water. She questioned whether the City could afford two water systems in TAP and Reeder Reservoir. Councilor Morris responded there was only one water system with two sources of water for the system. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve re-obligating Park Estates Pump Station monies of 2.4 million to the TAP project. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Rosenthal, Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to grant the City Administrator contracting authority in excess of $100,000 for construction of the TAP pipeline. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Marsh, Voisin, Morris, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to grant the City Administrator authority to sign a State Revolving Fund loan agreement in the amount of $2.97 million. DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal noted the assurances provided were based on signs the project would be completed and hoped Council would not operate this loosely going forward in other endeavors. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Rosenthal, Slattery, Lemhouse, Morris, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor