The long-awaited sewer-installation project in the Village of Coalton is going to be delayed by at least a month.  Two issues are causing the delay: The rising price of piping, and a change-order request from the contractor. This was the issue Mayor Kim Milliken presented to Council members during the group’s meeting Monday night, Nov. 1.

Milliken explained she recently received a communication from Southern Ohio Trenching and Excavating, Inc., the contractor chosen to complete Phases I and III of the project, explaining that the price of the pipe had increased by 10 percent. The company likewise expressed interest in submitting a change order. The mayor states she is in a “catch-22 situation,” trying to be compassionate yet firm.

“The village was given a price when we accepted their bid in good faith,” Mayor Milliken said. “They (the contractor) are going to have to honor it because the village is funding this project with grants, and we are trying to keep the cost per customer as low as possible.”

Milliken had previously explained that the village is trying to keep the cost increase per customer to nothing, hopefully, and no more than $7 at the most. She also suggested they look for pipe in a market where the prices are more competitive.

“Pipe, like many materials, is either in short supply or stuck in the chain,” she said.

Mayor Milliken also noted that the village has two years to spend the various grant funds it has received, so there is some flexibility there. The mayor, who has a business background, explained she understands the national supply chain problems and has ample respect for Southern Ohio Trenching and Excavating, Inc.

“I feel bad for them,” said Milliken. “I know they will do a good job for us. Unfortunately, there just is not a lot of extra money involved in this project.”

Milliken is also in the process of securing the final funding for Phase II of the project, which should be bid out this coming spring at the latest.