Santa Paula Times

Santa Paula Creek pipeline plan comes back with a higher price tag

September 20, 2000
Santa Paula City Council
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesAn irrigation line will be buried deeper in Santa Paula Creek but the cost is much more than originally estimated, the City Council learned at the September 5 meeting.In July, the council approved a $10,000 to $15,000 conceptual plan to restore the boulder weir to correct an unacceptably deep channel created at several locations, final gravel packing at the intake pipe to better water flow and repair of the rip-rap bank protection as well as the lowering of the crossing. The work could be folded into the fish ladder construction and would not require additional permits.Rancher Steven Smith had approached the city about the impacts of the Harvey Diversion Fish Ladder project on the irrigation line to his agricultural property. The pipeline crossing under the creek had been washed out and replaced at a higher level than before, the focus of Smith’s objections and request that it be redone beneath the creek bed as required.Public Works Director/City Engineer said at the September 5 meeting that the work proposed could not be considered related to the fish ladder restoration and would have to be bid separately. And, the work must be speeded up to beat the coming winter rains.The council learned that the good news is that bids for the project have already been obtained, but the bad news is that the cost has escalated dramatically.Wilkinson said the project will cost about $48,000, which will be pulled from water enterprise reserves.“I understood before that the cost would be $10,000 to $15,000,” said Councilman Jim Garfield.Wilkinson said the proposed project was “frankly, more difficult to do than anticipated,” and offered before the plans were completed.
But Wilkinson added that he is confident of the cost of the project, noting that two of the bids were within $1,000 of each other.Mayor Rick Cook worried that a 100-year storm could wash the buried pipeline away.Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa asked if the decision could be delayed due to the lack of bid information and confirmation with Smith on the details of the project.“We’re on an extremely tight time line. . .to hold this for over two weeks would blow the schedule and we’d have to go back for permits,” said Wilkinson.He stressed that he is confident of the bids, noting one was for $139,000, almost three times as much as the other bidders.“Gold pipe?” asked Councilman Jim Garfield.