Voice of the people: Huel Sills




Questions dam estimates and engineer fees


On June 4 The Dispatch published an article on the front page with the headline, "Engineers: No conflict of interest for Pritchard on county lake dam project." As a concerned citizen and tax payer that has been following this project since the "scare of the failing dam" was first mentioned, I decided that I would do a little research of my own.


The article does not mention that at the May 4 meeting, MDEQ told the board they could see no circumstance which would require complete removal and reconstruction of the dam. The county is being told that plans and specifications are needed for a new cost estimation.



The article indicates that now the engineer believes the price of the bid for the dam project is expected to be $5,305,500. How was that exact figure determined? The board of supervisors has been told that P&S would have to be complete before this amount could be determined. Are P&S complete? From information I obtained, the going rate for removing the dirt alone would be $8 per cubic yard to remove--640,000 cubic yards. This comes to $5.1 million. Then $17 per cubic yard to replace and another 950,000, which will cost another $16.1 million. Then you will need a drainage structure and that large famous emergency spillway. Total cost has to be well over $25 million. Seems like a lot of our money to replace something that does not need to be replaced, just brought up to standards by flattening the slopes and making the spillway larger. But an 8 percent fee of the cost to replace the dam is a considerable amount more than the 8 percent fee for the cost of the repairs and adjustments required by MDEQ and USACE.


When you see your supervisor ask them, with USACE and MDEQ saying the dam isn't about to fail, why are they wasting precious tax dollars? If I can read the letters sent from USACE/MDEQ and hear the meetings briefings and understand the dam isn't about to fail, why can't they?


Huel Sills






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