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Electric City picks new engineering firm

Public works director describes state of city’s water and sewer systems


At the same meeting in which their public works director described the “dilapidated” state of some of Electric City’s water and sewer system, the city council voted to change the firm that plans and engineers major upgrades on those systems and more.

The city council chose Century West Nov. 12 to be the city’s new engineering consultant firm, ending a 35-year relationship with Gray & Osborne, approving the recommendation of a committee tasked with comparing different engineering firms.

That committee was made up of Mayor Elect Diane Kohout, Brad Parrish, John Pryor, William Bott, and Councilmember Aaron Derr.

Kohout said she had checked references for multiple agencies, which led her to conclude a change was in order.

Derr said that Century West’s presentation “didn’t feel canned, it felt genuine,” and that the committee decision was unanimous.

Specifics on the contract between the firm and the city are still to be negotiated, but it will be for a two-year period, 2020-2021.

Prior to the selection, Public Works Director Jarred Armstrong, in his update to the council, described the state of the city’s water and sewer systems.

Armstrong spoke about projects he had been working on in previous months, and about getting a water line on Silver Avenue tied into Sunset Avenue because the “dead end line” there is “not a good thing.”

Armstrong also presented a dented piece of a steel water pipe that had been removed from Stevens Avenue. He said the pipe should be twice as thick as it is.

He then showed another pipe that was deteriorating and was filled with “cholesterol” on the inside of it, as Armstrong described it, “a heart attack waiting to happen.”

Armstrong emphasized that the water system is in rough shape, as is the sewer system, and described a sewage lift station as “dilapidating.”

“It’s an old town and an old system,” Armstrong said. “When we’re doing road projects and storm water projects and stuff like that we really need to consider what’s under the ground.”

Armstrong emphasized replacing water lines as other road projects take place, or else he could have to tear up new sections of road to access the water lines for repairs in the future.

Steven Nelson, of Century West, was present at the meeting and introduced himself following selection of the firm.

“I want to make your lives as easy as humanly possible,” he said, noting that with the town having a lot of projects going on, he doesn’t want to disrupt things.

Armstrong, who had earlier in the meeting recommended against choosing a new engineering firm, joked that he’d like to change his comments, at which point the room filled with laughter.

“You and I need to be best friends,” he said to Nelson.

The pair then left the council chamber to talk shop.

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