Wednesday, Dec. 8

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City begins work on sewer system contract     Send a link to a friend

EMC contract

[DEC. 8, 2004]  Negotiations for the wastewater treatment plant operation contract began this week. Joseph Miller represented the current provider, Environmental Management Corp., of O'Fallon, Mo.

Miller went over the new contract with sewer and finance committee members page by page. He explained that this is the first time since EMC began working with the city in 1990 that they've rewritten the contract. Past years contracts have simply been amended and renewed.

Combined contracts

The new contract combines both the plant operation and the engineer contract, which have been separate until now. Sewer chairman Huskins said he didn't think this could be done because the engineer's contract is part of the mayor's term of office. The mayor approves the position the first day in office of each new four-year term. The facility contracts are renewed on five-year terms.

Professional service vs. contract service

The contract divides costs into two tiers, wage and contract fees. The waste treatment plant employs nine workers. Alderman Huskins asked if EMC is following the prevailing wage law for laborers.

Local EMC manager Grant Eaton and Miller said that EMC doesn't fall under that statute.

Alderman Huskins said that government must pay workers prevailing wages. He questioned whether EMC is obligated as a subcontractor to do that also.

Buzz Busby said that the agreement with EMC is a service contract. It isn't like having a company come in and build something for us, he said. Eaton added, "We don't construct anything. We do preventive maintenance."

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Miller said that the Illinois statute is gray on prevailing wage act. He said they have about 25 contracts in Illinois. Based on their research and the legal opinions that the company has gotten, they don't fall under it. He will get the documentation that EMC goes by. City attorney Bill Bates will evaluate it and the Illinois statute.

Contract timing

The wastewater treatment contract typically is renewed every five years and is not due until April 30, 2006. But EMC is proposing its renewal combined with the engineer's contract, which is up this April 30, 2005.

The reason that EMC would like to modify the contract to be renewed this year, Miller said, is that, "It is this council that has known our performance and should make that decision."

This was the beginning of the negotiation, and finance committee chairman Verl Prather suggested holding off any further discussion until later meetings.

[Jan Youngquist]

 

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