I'm betting on the developer eating the $865,000 on this...
By KEVIN PEARSON
Representatives from the city of Hemet met with several utility companies earlier this month about the challenges that the Salvation Army is facing regarding the required undergrounding of utility lines at its new complex.
Hemet's Uniform Building Code of 1997 requires that all new structures require underground lines.
At the November City Council meeting, the Salvation Army expressed frustration that the cost of installing utility lines underground was more than 10 times what it expected and asked the city for a waiver to allow it to keep the lines above ground.
But after bringing all the sides together, the blame has been passed to the architectural firm for what the city and utility companies say was an unwillingness to go through the proper channels.
More than two years ago, a representative from STK called Edison and asked for a rough estimate on installing underground utility lines, and was told it would be around $15,000 per pole, but that in order to get an exact price, it would have to ask for engineers to pull the plans and do a complete inspection and report. The cost of that would have been $5,000 and the process would have taken four to six weeks to finish.
The firm never requested the official estimate and proceeded with its work.
"They didn't want to do that because they didn't want to wait the six weeks," said Ray Hicks, Public Affairs Manager for Edison. "They were trying to get the job. We were never requested to go to the site."
The project is roughly 70 percent completed and is expected to open in March. The City Council in November turned down the waiver request, saying that the firm should have followed proper procedure, but requested that all sides meet to discuss what went wrong during this process.
Hicks provided an update at Tuesday's City Council meeting, saying that the fact that the process had not been followed led to the issues.
There are five poles at the site that must be converted. Edison is charging $277,133; Verizon is charging $233,406 and Time Warner is charging $4,626. And the landscaping company is charging nearly $350,000 for its work, bringing the total cost to roughly $865,000.
"It sounds to me like the developer didn't do their diligence," Vice Mayor Robert Youssef said after Hicks spoke. "They didn't do what they were supposed to do."
Representatives from STK did not return phone calls seeking comment.
link to original story below. HEMET: City, utilities meet over Salvation Army project