Wellington Prepares For Major Study Of Village Utility System

The Wellington Village Council approved consulting services Tuesday for a wastewater lift station condition assessment at a cost of $189,066 in preparation for a rate study and 10-year capital plan.

Village Manager Paul Schofield said the village has 106 lift stations with a value of $21 million. The assessment is in preparation for a rate study that will include capital plan recommendations for the next 10 years.

Vice Mayor John McGovern said the council has approved a number of task orders lately to look at utility conditions in various neighborhoods. He asked Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque to explain how they fit together.

“Are we having an outside assessment of almost the entire system?” he asked.

“That’s correct,” LaRocque said. “As Mr. Schofield said, we’re getting ready to do a rate study. In order to insure that the rate study is complete and accurate, we have to provide a very realistic capital plan over the next 10 years. This is just one component of the assessment. They will all come together in the capital improvement plan.”

Schofield noted that the village’s water utility is an enterprise fund with an operating budget of about $20 million a year.

“Over 10 years, we’re looking at the things that establish the $200 million that the utility will be spending over the next decade, so it’s important that we get them right,” he said.

Councilman Michael Napoleone made a motion to approve the task order, which carried 4-0 with Mayor Anne Gerwig recusing herself due to business relationships with some of the contractors involved.

In related business, the council authorized the negotiation of additional annual contracts for civil engineering; wastewater reclaimed water treatment engineering; electrical, instrumental and control engineering; and related consulting services for staff to add to its roster in anticipation of a higher degree of utility activity.

Staff recommended that three of the responding engineering firms be retained: Engenuity Group, Simmons & White and Chen Moore & Associates. Two firms were recommended for traffic engineering: Pinder Troutman Consulting and Simmons & White. Hazen & Sawyer was recommended for wastewater process and reclaimed water engineering, while Hillers Electrical Engineering was recommended for electrical, instrumentation and control engineering.

Purchasing Director Ed De La Vega said that all the selections were qualifications based, pursuant to the Consultant’s Competitive Negotiations Act. The selections were made by a committee including LaRocque, Director of Administrative & Financial Services Tanya Quickel, Growth Management Director Bob Basehart and Village Engineer Tom Lundeen.

McGovern asked how the new contracts fit with contracts the village already has, and Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes said the village has contracts with civil engineering firms that cover paving and grading, drainage and general utilities, as well as plant-type utility work.

“These firms are in addition to these to specifically address additional aspects of civil engineering so that we have greater opportunities and options for our firms in order to accomplish the work that we have to do,” Barnes explained.

Barnes said that the additional level of work the village is performing requires more contracting options so projects are not held up due to a limited number of providers. Also, some tasks require very specific expertise.

“If you only have a limited number of firms, in some cases there’s only so many staff members they can allocate to a particular client,” he said. “At that point, we have to stagger or prioritize certain projects beyond what we’re comfortable doing.”

Councilman Michael Napoleone made a motion to approve the contracts, which carried 4-0 with Gerwig recusing herself.