Council pays street scheme cost overruns

RESIDENTS in two recently-completed streets in Yarram and Wurruk won’t be slugged extra charges, after Wellington Shire Council agreed to pick up the tab on the street scheme blow-outs.

However, most of the council contribution for one of the projects will be funded through the federal government’s Roads to Recovery program, with the council’s contribution increasing from the estimated $127,192 to $189,669.

Council adopted the Final Cost Certificate for Riverview Rd, Wurruk, with the overall final cost of the scheme coming in at $254,614, a whopping 37.6 per cent above the $185,000 estimate, and an increase in the scheme component cost of $69,614.

The property owner contribution to the scheme will be $79,560.

The final cost certificate was also adopted for the McMillan Crescent Special Charge Street Construction Scheme, after council officers were directed to prepare the final apportionment amounts due from property owners, based on the original estimate of $74,000, less than the final costs of $79,507.

The tender for the McMillan Crescent pavement sealing and footpath construction was undertaken simultaneously with the road, kerb and channel and nature strip tree renewal works to obtain economies of scale and provide the best value to council and the scheme participants.

The works were completed on May 14.

Cr Garry Stephens told the council the construction of McMillan Crescent had been strongly supported by residents, and the street now “looks a million dollars”.

“It’s been crying out for works for many years,” he said.

Cr Stephens said the improvements, which saw the scheme components jump by $5507 or 7.4 per cent over the estimated costs, would benefit all who lived in McMillan Crescent.

Under the provisions of section 166 of the Local Government Act 1989, council may vary the special charge to be paid, although if the increase is an amount equal to or greater than 10 per cent of the estimated declared cost then a further declaration would need to be made.

Cr Darren McCubbin said the special charge street construction scheme was sometimes “a wild ride”.

A council spokesperson said the initial estimates were prepared for both schemes early in 2017 to allow consultation with residents to gauge their support for the schemes prior to reports being presented to council and designs being completed.

She said it was usual practice to base estimates on similar work, and in the case of Riverview Rd the initial concept did not cover all of the challenges in providing the required road width and some additional drainage, as Riverview Rd was an unsealed road with open drains.

There were also some delays in preparing estimates for consultation, two council reports, completing designs and then tendering projects.

Wellington Shire Council has now adopted fixed prices for most special charge schemes, where certainty can be given to residents, and it is intended that future schemes will operate under this model, she said.