WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A report in the Wichita Eagle this week questions why a water treatment plant proposal deadline was moved back until after the elections in November.
“As we came up with the earlier deadline, early October, we realized there’s some real savings here,” said Alan King, Director of Public Works for Wichita. “So we want to take the time that’s necessary to work through the analysis and the design, thinking that there’s going to be a real savings on this project if we take this extra time.”
King is not saying how much the potential savings would be but he called it potentially significant.
King explains that Wichita Water Partners (WWP) was originally asked to provide a proposal in early October for at least 30% of the design and a cost proposal for the project.
To get federal financing, called WIFIA, an application from the city is due by the end of the month.
“WIFIA application is due at the end of October,” said King. “That’s always been the plan. It continues to be the plan.”
Federal financing is not guaranteed, but King says the biggest hurdle is getting asked to apply. That has happened and now the work is continuing to both find savings and get the work to the federal government.
“We went ahead and extended that contract out towards the end of the year,” said King. “Really, it’s to the October 28th date when we expect to present the guaranteed maximum price for this project. So in that short period of time they (WWP) will be doing a lot of work to try to identify those savings. The contract extension was to the end of the year so they will still be available to help us as we answer questions of the EPA on the application.”
An oversight committee for the project, called the steering committee, will publicly meet this Friday at city hall on the 10th floor at one in the afternoon.
The meeting is not for public comment, but the public can attend.
KSN will be there to find out what the final price will be for the roughly half a billion dollar project. The original proposal brought before the city council was for $524 million.
“And we will be unveiling the most current price as we think it is on Friday, so I would invite you to come and hear that report,” said King.