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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Officials railroading project

Editor:I wrote this letter to clarify my thoughts on the wastewater project.  I suggest we postpone the decision, as there is pertinent information to this project that people of this community are not aware of; such as long term viable alternatives.Laura Fleming, President of SRS Crisafulli, offered to assist Glendive with their wastewater problems two years ago.  We offered to dredge the lagoons for free and work with other companies who may have donated time and materials to assist in the sludge removal and disposal process.  SRSCrisafulli also offered to bring experts from the wastewater industry to assess our situation and offer advice on solutions.  To each of these, we were told no thank you, a decision has already been made.It has been stated that the mechanical plant and West Glendive’s connection is the least expensive option.  With the cost rising an estimated 30+percent, before construction has begun, is that still the case?  With a project of this magnitude, where was the vote by the people of this community? Why was this not discussed until it’s a “done deal”? Our commissioners told me that there were public meetings, which no one attended.  Personally, if I was about to spend millions of tax payer dollars, I would make it a point to receive feedback from the people footing the bill.In the commissioners’ “Sewer district facts” guest column in Wednesday’s paper, they admitted to not knowing what the final bill will be.  Part of the treatment plant won’t be put to bid until construction has started on it.  This sounds very familiar, just pass it and we’ll figure out what’s in it later.Great West Engineering’s estimate for the mechanical plant was about 30 percent low.  They have already billed us for over $1 million which is a lot of money for them to be this far off.  If you were given an estimate on your house for a project and when the contractor showed up they informed you of a 30 percent increase, would you be ok with that?  I think there needs to be some accountability for this.There are far less expensive alternatives, which were dismissed without due consideration.  The DEQ said they understand the cost and would work with us as long as we made efforts.  It seems to me our officials are railroading this project. Why?  I know we need a permanent solution, and I want us to choose the correct one.  I think that we have to re-examine our options in light of the inaccurate initial estimate.Sincerely,Troy Fercho

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