Helena fined for sewer delays

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Helena Mayor Charles &uot;Sonny&uot; Penhale said the city will not have to pay a fine handed down by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management since the developer defaulted on the contract.

Earlier this month, ADEM said Helena must pay fines included in a 2001 consent order.

The order indicated the city must complete sewer upgrades and expansion to prevent overflows into Buck Creek.

ADEM fined the city $18,300 for missing a November 2003 deadline to complete its sewer project.

According to Helena city attorney Frank C. &uot;Butch&uot; Ellis, however, the city will not have to pay the fine.

Ellis said a bonding company which insured the project will be completed on time will pay the fines levied by ADEM.

That company, Fidelity and Deposit of Maryland, has already assigned a new developer who is completing the project.

The sewer expansion and upgrades could be complete this spring.

Ellis said the original developer, Tuscaloosa-based Jerry Morrison and Company, defaulted on the contract’s completion date and failed to pay sub-contractors.

Ellis also said the city will not have to pay any of the ADEM fines, since the bonding company will.

&uot;I think the city is in good position with it,&uot; Ellis said. &uot;The default won’t cost us anything but time.&uot;

The city’s sewer system expansion will increase its sewage treatment capacity from 1.25 million gallons per day to 4.95 million a day