Coronavirus included in Sioux Falls wastewater discussion Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Coronavirus came up as the Sioux Falls City Council discussed a phase of the planned $159 million wastewater treatment plant project.

Council member Theresa Stehly voted against a contract with McCarthy Building on the terms of pre-construction and construction planning for the wastewater treatment plant. Stehly was the lone dissenting vote.

A video recording of the council’s March 17 meeting is posted on the city’s website and KELOLAND News used the video for this story.

Stehly said the coronavirus is causing economic insecurity so the city should take more time before it pursue such a large project.

“…I’d really like to hold off on this…,” Stehly said. “…I’m not trying to say let’s have sewage backup in people’s basements and toilets, I know we need to take care of our infrastructure…”

Council member Christine Erickson asked Stehly how long she wanted to wait.

Stehly said in response that she was uncertain as to when would be the appropriate time.

Erickson said it’s time now. “This is (a) most basic need in our community…,” Erickson said.

The city is not pursing a baseball stadium, which could wait, but a key piece of infrastructure, Erickson said. “We can’t just kick the can down the road…,” Erickson said.

She appreciates the sentiment of concern about uncertain conditions but the city can’t wait on such an important project, Erickson said.

When asked by Stehly if the city had the ability to terminate the contract and stop the process after it approved the contract, Mark Cotter, director of public works, said the city has the option to stop the process.

The city’s consulting attorney James Wiederrich said the city has the option at any time to stop the process and terminate the contract.

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