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Olive Hill holds payment to Trane

Council wants to see detailed progress on water treatment plan

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

Olive Hill city council are unhappy with the lack of progress by Trane on their water treatment plant upgrade, and they’re holding their final payment to the company until they’ve had their questions answered.

During their regular meeting last Tuesday Mayor Jerry Callihan questioned the Trane representative about the number of incomplete elements at the plant. Callihan said during his most recent trip to the site there were gutters still lying in the weeds alongside the building as well as large control panels waiting to be wired in. This wasn’t a supply line issue anymore, Callihan said, it was failure to complete work.

The Trane project manager told Callihan that they were supposed to have an electrician out to the site to complete the panel installation one day that week, but he was unavailable. Callihan, however, said he was skeptical the work could have been completed in the timeframe described even if the electrician had been available.

Councilman Kirk Wilburn told the representative that council was “not paying ahead” for work that has not been done.

The Trane representative noted that these payments are for work done, but also cover invoices for items received.

But Wilburn countered this was the final contractually scheduled payment, and “the work is not done.”

Councilman Eric Rayburn expressed his frustration as well, stating that it would be easier for him to vote to release payment if he had any idea how much of the work had been completed.

“It seems to me like every month it’s the same thing,” Rayburn said. “We come in here, and there is no progress.”
He said a simple accounting of the work done and work still to be completed, something council has regularly asked for, would make it easier for him to make an informed decision.

“That’s what they want to see, on paper, is the percentage of work done,” Callihan added.

Callihan then detailed the state of the work at his last survey, prior to the council meeting.
“I looked at it today, and it is nowhere near complete,” Callihan said. In addition to the unwired control panels and incomplete external details, he said, there was also a great deal of unfinished plumbing. Callihan said it was not a simple overflow pipe on finished plumbing, as the Trane representative asserted.

The representative responded that the system was sufficiently complete that, “if we had electric on, we could test the filters.”

“So, you’re done?” Rayburn asked.

“No,” the representative admitted, adding there was still a deal of testing and system tuning to complete.

Rayburn then asked if everything was installed and the representative said that the electronics were the main issue. He said they couldn’t do further work until the electronics were installed.

Callihan, however, reiterated that the building was unfinished inside and that gutters were still on the ground.

“It doesn’t look complete, and I’m not getting a report,” Rayburn said, adding that because of this he was not comfortable releasing payment; even with the representatives assurances they were only a day away from start-up, once they had the electronics.

Wilburn asked if council could approve the payment contingent on the receipt of a report, and the Trane representative said he would send that report through to city clerk Chimila Hargett. He also offered to take the council on a walk-through tour of the facility, show them the work complete and

work still to be done, and answer any questions. He said he thought that would help council understand the work that had been completed.

While several council members expressed interest in such a walk through, they declined the offer to take the walkthrough at that time. Taking the project manager up on the offer would have required council to go into recess, and then to go back into session at the site before reversing the process to return to the senior center.
If a quorum of members planned to show up together for a walk-through at any other time they would have to declare a special session and give media 24 hour notice.

In other action council heard from Cory Claxon with the Olive Hill Center for Arts & Education on his request that the city look into solar credits from their electric provider, and discussed stray dog issues.

Councilman Shane Tackett said he had talked with judge executive Brandon Burton and was told the city needed to sign a reciprocal agreement with the county before the county could pick up dogs inside city limits.

The discussion of this situation led Hargett to ponder whether council could use dog tag fees to cover the city’s share of costs for picking up dogs under the reciprocal agreement.

Callihan, however, noted that most of the dogs causing problems weren’t going to be tagged, and many of them wander into city limits from properties located outside the city, in the county.

The city also withdrew their previous dog ordinances in order to comply with any regulations the county might pass when they supported the county in the formation of a county dog warden position.

Hargett said there were packs of loose dogs sometimes roaming the city park, near the city building. Callihan said while working early one morning he saw a pack of around 14 come through town, coming off Clark Hill from outside city limits.

Council tabled the dog issue and other agenda items and moved to pass their budget on second reading, and moved to accept department reports and the treasurer’s report before adjourning.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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