By Ron Leir
After year and a half of occupying temporary trailers, the Kearny Municipal Utilities Authority has finally moved back into its Central Ave. headquarters now that a makeover is pretty much done.
KMUA Executive Director Kevin O’Sullivan said the contractor, Daskal Construction of Wallington, began the $680,900 rehabilitation job in September 2013 with the expectation that the job would be finished by January 2014. But the pace of work continued to be snagged – which the contractor blamed on delays in delivery of construction materials, harsh winter weather conditions and some change orders, O’Sullivan said.
“He was granted one month extra time,” O’Sullivan said, but it was still slow going.
Last week, the five employees bade farewell to their temporary quarters and returned to their home building which got a new façade, roof and refurbished administrative offices, along with a new HVAC system.
O’Sullivan said the MUA board of commissioners still hasn’t accepted the job as complete because, “the contractor is still waiting for a warranty from the roof manufacturer and there are also a few punchlist items to complete.”
Until those issues are taken care of, the MUA is retaining “more than $40,000” on the overall job contract, he said.
O’Sullivan said he was confident that the job would come in at or near the original contract price.
“And the contractor will be required to post a two-year maintenance performance bond,” he said.
The building at 39 Central Ave. dates from 1955 and needed a lot of work to remedy a variety of problems, including leaks, insufficient heating during the cold months when staff had to rely on space heaters, and lack of air conditioning, according to O’Sullivan.
“Now we have a new roof, a climate-controlled building, new offices and a conference room,” he said. ‘I’m anticipating that we’ll be holding our annual rate study session and public meeting here for the first time, on April 22.”
Regular MUA commission meetings will continue to be held at Town Hall, he said.
The MUA, which recently adopted its 2015 budget of $3,997,707 – up from last year’s $3,850,891 – is gearing up for two big projects this year: rehabilitation of the Kearny Point pump station which services upstream MUA customers and the Harrison pump facility which handles the northern edge of the MUA collection district.
Both facilities were compromised by Super Storm Sandy, O’Sullivan said.
Coppola Services Inc. of Ringwood was awarded the jobs in December for about $4.5 million, most of which the MUA will get reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he said. And the MUA will also apply a $250,000 grant from the state Office of Emergency Management’s Hazardous Mitigation Fund to offset the cost of a new generator.
The work is expected to take a year and half to complete, he said.
When the job is done, O’Sullivan said, “We’ll have fully functioning pumps and reliable service for our users.”