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Angels sewer plant still having problems

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The Angels Camp City Council refused Tuesday to release retention funds to the contractor of the city€™s trouble-plagued sewage treatment plant.

Under any such contracts, a portion of payments to the primary contractor are placed in a special fund, to be released upon successful completion of the project.

There is $490,456 in the retention fund for the sewer project. Even though construction was delayed several times and faced a number of obstacles, an item on Tuesday€™s council agenda proposed releasing $303,603 of the money for items that are not subject to dispute between the city and contractor Alan A. Bradford, Inc. of Fairfield.

But when the item came up for review, city engineer Gary Ghio said the new facility had experienced several mechanical failures in the last week, and he was now recommending the council not release any funds to the contractor. The item was indefinitely postponed until such time as it was appropriate to consider releasing the funds.

Completion of the plant was delayed for several months. A final deadline of Sept. 28, 2002, came and went with the contractor facing a penalty of $500 a day beyond that. The facility finally began treating Angels Camp wastewater this month. Total construction costs are estimated at nearly $5 million-€“ $350,000 to $400,000 over the original bid.

Council members briefly discussed who could determine when the funds are to be released. Ghio presently has the authorization in the contract to release the money on his own, but assured the council that would not happen. €œI will not release any retention funds without bringing it to you,€ he said.

By Craig Koscho

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