The Early City Council granted approval for a change order request for the city’s wastewater treatment plant project in a special called meeting on Wednesday afternoon.   

In a meeting presided over by mayor pro-tem Benny Allcorn, Early city manager Tony Aaron explained that engineering company Jacob & Martin was recommending an increase in pond sizes for the project to accommodate a larger population.   

“When we opened our contracting bids, in the bid we selected we came in $2 million under budget,” Aaron said, “so any change order that we would consider is not putting us under budget. We’ve got room to maneuver without any more debt, or borrowing any more funds.”   

Aaron said an initial change order had recommended both larger ponds and an additional irrigation pivot. “After we got to looking at it a little more and looking at some of the cost-items that were in there,” Aaron said, “I felt like the other irrigation pivot they were adding did not add any acreage and seemed like a waste of money in that change order. I went back to them and said let’s try to strike that fourth irrigation and let’s focus on the original design … which would still give us 142 acres of irrigation.”   

The new change order includes only larger pools, Aaron said, and would accommodate an average daily flow of 580,000 gallons a day. “Currently, we’re estimating our average daily flow at about 315,000,” Aaron said.   

A 580,000-gallon flow would support a population of 5,100 based on an average per capita use of 180 gallons a day. Aaron said the larger treatment plant should handle Early’s needs for decades to come.
    He said the change order price is not yet firmly established but will be around $300,000.    

During the meeting, the council also voted to:
    •    Continue the variance granted for a privacy fence at 305 Sunrise Drive.
    •    Approve Resolution 2017-EDR04, authorizing participation with the ATMOS Cities Steering Committee for $56.66 per year. “The ATMOS steering committee is much like our Oncor steering committee which we’re already a part of,” Aaron said. “They … kind of keep an eye on what’s going on with ATMOS as it relates to rates, mergers, buyouts or any kind of bankruptcy issues.”
    •    Approved Resolution 2017-R10 to extend the real estate loan at Mills County State Bank on the property at 1030 Early Blvd.
    •    Approved and accepted the completion for the recoating of the elevated water tower.   

The council will convene again for its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 13 at 6 p.m.