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Town Council Approves Additional Sewer Bonding

Soft costs have contributed to a larger price tag.

The price tag of a $25.54 million sewer project has increased by $3 million because of "soft costs," while an effort to cut nearly $1 million from the increase has narrowly failed.

At its meeting in Town Hall earlier this month, the Town Council voted 10-9 against a proposed amendment that would have cut $961,000 from the $3 million, because the exact final cost of the sewer work will not be known for 14 more months.

Also, the council cannot tell the Water Pollution Control Authority how to allocate the money, said Town Attorney Ed Walsh. The money will pay to hire an engineering firm, Tighe&Bond, to employ two construction observers and an engineer, among other staff.

Nichols residents have opposed borrowing the $961,000, saying the town should pay the bill. 

"Our constituents were very clear. They don't want this cost on their shoulders," said Mary Beth Thornton, D-2.

The original bonding resolution to add $3 million passed 13-4 with two abstentions from council members Jane Deyoe, R-2, and John Rotondo, D-3. Voting against it were council members Thornton; Martha Jankovic-Mark, R-5; Robert Pescatore Jr., R-2; and John DelVecchio Jr., D-4.

"I am not against the engineering firm being brought in, just who will pay for them," Pescatore said.

Mark said she opposed the increase because she does not believe in using sewers.

Still, most of the council members agreed that the work was necessary. About $2.1 million of the increase is in "soft costs," such as design fees, said council member Debra Lamberti, R-4. The original bond, about $27 million, is purely construction costs, she said.

North Nichols is the fourth phase of the sewer project. After it is complete, work begins in South Nichols. Work continues on Shelton Road near Golden Hill Street, Pescatore said.

The third phase was the Jog Hill and Daniels Farm Road area work. But Daniels Farm Road is cracking and buckling and portions have had to be resealed, said First Selectman Timothy Herbst. An audit revealed insufficient construction supervision led to the defects in the work.

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