For the second time, Fort Smith leaders will be asked to approve a contract for engineering services related to the addition of fluoride into the city’s drinking water.
Two weeks ago, the Fort Smith Board of Directors approved a $1.5 million construction contract with Goodwin & Goodwin for fluoride feed systems at the city’s Lake Fort Smith and Lee Creek water treatment plants. However, directors voted 4-3 against a companion measure to front $249,000 for fluoride-related engineering services.
On Tuesday, the board will again be asked to approve the engineering contract with Kansas City-based engineering firm Burns & McDonnell.
In a letter to city officials, Utilities Director Steve Parke notes some members of the board “had concerns about the cost of those services.”
“Admittedly, the estimated engineering cost of $249,000 falls outside of the normally expected percentage” of the construction cost, he wrote. “But what may not be readily apparent is the complexity of the reviews and oversight needed.”
In 2011, state legislators passed a law requiring water systems serving 5,000 or more customers to fluoridate their public water when funding became available. Last fall, the Board of Directors accepted a $1.8 million grant from Delta Dental for the fluoridation effort. Later, an amendment to the grant bumped it up to $2 million.
Parke noted that Delta Dental will reimburse 100 percent of the engineering and construction costs.
“The grant condition to complete the work and begin feeding fluoride into the water supply is March 16, 2016,” he wrote in his memo. “Completing the work within the remaining eight months presents a compressed time period and has influenced the project costs.”
Tuesday’s board meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Fort Smith Public Schools Service Center, 3205 Jenny Lind Road.
Also, the board will be asked to approve a resolution confirming the appointment of Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman as acting city administrator. Fort Smith’s city administrator for the past 4½ years, Ray Gosack, retired earlier this month.
The mayor and Board of Directors will host their monthly Town Hall forum after the business meeting concludes. The forum is designed to provide residents with an opportunity to present policy ideas, ask questions or lodge complaints.
*Original article online at http://www.swtimes.com/article/20150803/NEWS/308039907