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PRICEY PROJECT: Leaders reboot bids for Burnt Store's $200m reclaimed water job

The initial estimate for the project was approximately $89 million.
Posted at 7:45 PM, Jun 11, 2024

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — At Wednesday’s meeting, Charlotte County Commissioners voted to restart the bid process for the Burnt Store Water Reclamation facility expansion project after costs exceeded expectations.

The project would expand the facility’s output from .5 MGD to 2.5 MGD. The bid that was before commissioners was submitted by the Poole & Kent Company for $178,922,100, which commissioner Ken Doherty would total the cost of the project toover $200 million.

Entrance to the Burnt Store Water Treatment and Water Reclamation Facility on Burnt Store Road.

“It's showing a total of about $210 million, well good grief the engineer’s estimate in the original budget was a little over I believe $89 million,” said Doherty.

Commissioners heard a presentation about utility rate increases and the impact rate hikes and an increased connection fee would have to pay for the expansion project, among others.

Possible rate adjustment presented to Charlotte County Commissioners.

“I cannot support, at this point in time, doing that project,” said Doherty. “I want to reject the bids and start over.”

Commissioner Joe Tiseo said that raising utility rates on existing customers to pay for capital improvement projects was unfair.

“Having the existing rate payers absorb these types of increases, it's not palatable, I don't find that equitable,” said Tiseo. “Again, in my mind it's now become unreasonable.”

Joe Tiseo
Commissioner Joe Tiseo stated increasing rates for existing customers to pay for the reclamation facility expansion was not equitable.

Commissioners unanimously voted to reject the project bid and begin a new request for bid process. A workshop to discuss utility rates and how to pay for the county’s capital improvement projects without rate increases will be held on July 16.