The good news is that USDA Rural Development is putting together a loan/grant package of $425,000 to cover budget shortfalls for Waitsfield’s municipal water project.
The bad news is that extended litigation and other issues have caused the project to run into budget overages. Construction of the water project was originally budgeted at $6.63 million and last month the select board received the word that construction completion of the project would bring the total to $6.771 million.
At the board’s June 25 meeting, members learned that legal and administrative costs were originally budgeted at $257,000 and the updated estimate to complete is $1.036 million. To date, the anticipated budget shortfall is $317,000. It is expected that legal costs will increase by $25,000 and the land/easement acquisition will cost $41,138, and if these costs increase from these projections, the shortfall will subsequently increase as well.
The shortfalls are expected to total $425,000 and the board has received word from Rural Development that that agency is putting together a financing package for the town that will meet the shortfalls.
Municipal project manager Henry Erickson said that the town received word this week that a package was being put together but did not yet have the breakdown or final details.
The select board last received a comprehensive cost update on the project on May 21 and since that time, there were four major changes to the budget. First, the engineer’s estimate to complete the project has been adjusted to reflect an additional $151,560, the result of an error in the retainage calculation; second, Contract 6 came in with a lower bid and contingency, resulting in $128,415 less than originally estimated; Phelps Technical and Construction Services has increased by $55,399, and small purchases, including additional funding for the project manager, has increased by $55,812.