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School, county asked to pay double for Dahlia pipelining

April 28, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Certain local government agencies are being asked by the Imperial Irrigation District to pay double what they were expected to pay for the pipelining of the Dahlia Canal in and around the city of Imperial.

The cost overruns are reportedly the result of increased costs for materials associated with the pipelining, and the delay in notifying Imperial County and the Imperial Unified School District was blamed on the IID's new computer system, according to a letter sent to the county by IID's water department.

The county is being asked to pay $350,267.59, up from an estimated $60,000; and IUSD is being asked for $94,674.56, up from an estimated $57,000.

Supervisors Tony Tirado, Wally Leimgruber and Joe Maruca said they have not seen the letter or spreadsheet that lays out what each agency owes and was attached to the letter.


"I don't know what we're going to do, and I don't know what I'm going to recommend at this point," Maruca said, adding he'd heard of the issue from IUSD officials. "It's a lot of money."

IUSD Trustee Chuck Jernigan said the school board was given a presentation on the issue by Mike King, IID water department manager, at the IUSD's board meeting Thursday.

"We're looking for relief and assistance from the (Imperial Irrigation) District," Jernigan said, adding that the school district does not have the money to pay more than what was estimated and to do otherwise would deprive schoolchildren of needed resources.

"We're putting the future of our children in their hands," Jernigan said

He added IID officials were apologetic for the delayed billing and humble in their presentation.

He said the IUSD wrote a letter asking that the issue be placed on the IID board agenda for discussion with IUSD officials, at which time the school district will seek relief from having to pay the higher amount.

An IID letter sent to the county says a formal estimate of the project, using plastic pipe, was about $500,000 higher than the original agreement among the agencies, bringing the new total, at the time, to $1.8 million.

"Upon resolution of actual costs, we found that material costs were actually an additional $276,000, corresponding construction costs an additional $309,000 and engineering an additional $35,000 (above the initial cost estimate of $1.8 million) for a resulting project cost of $2.43 million," the letter states.

The letter goes on to state IID is willing to work on a payment plan with the agencies that will meet their current and future cash flow requirements.

Jernigan said the city of Imperial had language removed from the agreement that mentioned actual costs and retained language that committed the city to only pay the estimated costs agreed to at the time of the agreement.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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