NORTHUMBERLAND — The borough council members of Northumberland agreed to pay more than $950,000 to settle a longtime lawsuit with the general contractor in charge of the borough’s $13.6 million wastewater plant project.
At Tuesday night’s public meeting, the council voted to pay $954,837 to Jay Fulkroad and Sons, of McAlisterville, to settle a lawsuit filed after the project was delayed in 2016. This settlement payment comes after Fulkroad rejected a December settlement offer of $389,000.
“We’re going to pay the money up front and get it over with,” said borough President Paul Ruane.
Councilwomen Kaitlyn Simmons and Anne Boyer made and seconded the motion to settle the lawsuit. The motion passed unanimously 6-0. Councilman Frank Wetzel was absent from the meeting.
The borough broke ground in January 2015 to upgrade its wastewater plant operation by building a new plant on the grounds of the old plant on Water Street. General contractor Fulkroad, of McAlisterville, was supposed to be completed with the plant by July 4, 2016, but was five months late.
The final payments to Fulkroad were held back while the legal battle played out, said Solicitor Melissa Kelso, of Carlisle.
In order to settle the matter in its entirety and release the remaining $560,000 from the Pennvest loan, a retention pond was built for $6,930 by third-party Chip Adams Sewer and Drain Cleaning, of Bloomsburg. The work was completed on Friday and a virtual inspection was conducted, Kelso said.
The engineer State College-based environmental firm Hazen and Sawyer and the state Department of Environmental Protection must sign off on the project and then the state permits must be closed out. At that time, the final $560,000 Pennvest funds will be released to reimburse the borough, said Kelso.
The other $389,000 comes from the sewer department budget, said Jeremy Deitrick, the superintendent of the sewer department.
Deitrick echoed Ruane’s comments.
“I just want to see it go away,” he said.