The south hill reservoir and pump house upgrades are going to cost the City of Swift Current more than they originally budgeted for.

On Monday night Swift Current city council approved an additional $300,000 for the project that began in 2017. SaskPower will pick up half of that bill due to the project providing the Chinook Power Station with water.

According to the City, the project is almost complete and so far its cost is just over $3,245,000 and in the 2017 capital budget the City had set aside just under $2,958,000.

Mitch Minken, general manager of infrastructure and operations with the City of Swift Current, said one of the reasons the project is over budget was because they took a different route on pricing out the upgrades with SaskPower being involved.

"Normally we would do our design, we would come up with our cost estimate, we would get our budget together, we'd make sure we had the right numbers," he said. "This project came in a fairly short period of time, the design work was done very quickly and the estimating work, instead of working from the estimate, we actually tendered the project ahead of the original budget submission and we used that tendered figure as the base of our budget."

The largest overbudget bill comes from AECOM, for $135,618, who provided engineering services for the design and supervision of the project.

"Originally it was thought that as we moved along through the project we'd need less supervision," Minken said. "But as we moved through the project, it became apparent in order to meet the deadline, because there were some severe penalties at the backend of this thing if we didn't have the water running to the power station at the time, I think the penalties were $50,000 a day if we weren't there. So it became apparent that we needed to apply some more supervision to that project to ensure we met the deadline."

Hipperson Construction was awarded the contract by city council back in 2017 to implement an additional pump house, two wet wells, two pumps supplying the Chinook Power Plant, and two pumps supplying the City of Swift Current's water distribution system. Recently Hipperson Construction and the City agreed to descope the project, leaving the City owing an extra $36,000.

"When we started excavating, we ran into some old foundation, some old concrete that was in there that we weren't aware was there," he said. "That made up the bulk of the change orders for the construction side of the project."

The City and Hipperson Construction also agreed to allow City crews to take over $116,000 worth of work.

"It was a bunch of miscellaneous stuff at the end," he said. "Some building upgrades, there was the electrical connection between the old pump house and the new pump house and that had to be integrated and some of the computer control systems that had to be programmed properly to tie those two together."

The City intends to fund the project through long-term debt in the water/wastewater utility.

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