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Spelman may delay vote on approval of WTP4 contracts

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 by Austin Monitor

Although Mayor Lee Leffingwell wants to move forward with a vote on $350 million worth of contracts for Water Treatment Plant 4 on Thursday, plant opponent Council Member Bill Spelman may derail the process.


Spelman told In Fact Daily on Tuesday that he has a number of questions for city staff about the plant’s construction. While conceding that no answer would cause him to vote in favor of the contracts, Spelman contends that his questions should be answered before a Council vote that would most likely mark the final approval of contracts for the project.


Spelman is part of a three-member Council minority that has always voted against contracts and other items related to the building of the plant. Council Members Laura Morrison and Chris Riley are the other members of the trio.


Leffingwell, arguing that the Council should act now while costs are low, has pushed for the authorization within the amount that’s already approved in the budget. “I think it is not productive to debate every supplementary contract that comes along,” he said.


Even if Spelman gets a fourth vote in favor of postponing the item this week, the matter would only be put off a couple of weeks, he said. In addition, Council is scheduled to set a Chapter 26 hearing for use of parkland for work on one of the mains for the plant for Dec. 16, the final meeting of 2010.

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