IID to absorb Dahlia Canal overrun costs

June 13, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

LA QUINTA — The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Trustees voted during its meeting here Tuesday to absorb the cost of the Dahlia Canal project overrun.

The cost of putting the Dahlia Canal underground in and around the city of Imperial was to be shared between the IID, the city of Imperial, Imperial County and Imperial Unified School District.

The parties agreed to split the cost of the project based on original estimates, but IID did not inform the entities when increases in construction and material costs pushed the price to $2.43 million.

IID water department manager Mike King has said a computer error was to blame for the other parties not being informed of the higher costs until after the project was completed.


The city of Imperial agreed in its contract to pay only the estimated costs, not the final price, and is therefore not contractually obligated to pay beyond the estimate.

The school district and Imperial County did not have such language in their contracts.

Last month, the board voted to forgive IUSD the nearly $45,000 beyond the original estimate, at the school district's request. At that time, Director Bruce Kuhn requested the issue of cost allocation to Imperial County be on Tuesday's agenda.

Kuhn made a motion Tuesday to "absorb the cost of the overrun of the Dahlia Canal project."

"Let's absorb that cost and go on," Kuhn said.

Director Rudy Maldonado asked how IID was going to cover these costs.

King explained to the board that one or two other projects will be pushed back a year, but the principal of the fund from which this money would come will not be affected.

King said the extra expenses weren't overruns but estimate revisions.

He told the board the county's portion includes an additional $175,000 beyond the original estimate.

King said he was awaiting the board's action before issuing bills to the city of Imperial and Imperial County.

Director Lloyd Allen voiced concern that the board may be setting a precedent enabling the county to back out of paying the overrun from other projects. Allen cited the past South Alamo Canal project, from which IID is awaiting the county's payment.

Maldonado said he'd like to see a more streamlined effort to collect money from such projects.

The item passed with a 3-2 vote. Directors Kuhn, Andy Horne and Stella Mendoza voted for it while Allen and Maldonado opposed the item.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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