December 10, 2014

Commission discusses amended agreement

By Chris Erickson

A major road upgrade south of Beulah is nearly complete but on hold due to costs that exceeded the budget this year. Last week the Mercer County Commission began talks on the amendment process for the road agreement with the mining company that wanted it.
Coyote Creek Mine President Jim Melchior and Engineering/Environmental Manager Donn Steffan were both on hand to discuss the County Road 25 agreement with the commission. According to Melchior the amendment would provide an additional map and account for extra costs that had been incurred.
Melchior said the initial costs that Coyote Creek Mine had figured for were about $1.5 million in road improvement costs. To date all but about 1,500 feet of the road had been upgraded.
“By the end of this year the county expects to spend about $1.87 million, which is $300,000 over the $1.5 million,” Melchior said. “That includes part of the engineering costs and the easements for the project.”
He added that additional costs to finish the roadway next year would be more than $420,000. All told that would bring the project about $800,000 over Coyote Creek’s initial budget.
“Coyote can not commit to the $2.3 million of the total project cost as we do not have the money budgeted at this point and time,” he said. “We’ve agreed to amend the agreement and take it up to $2 million.”
Melchior said as the company’s budget was approved by its customers then any change would need to be also approved by their customers.
County Engineer Steve Mamer said the costs of the project had increased significantly from the initial engineer’s estimate because contractors costs had been coming in higher and the road in question had experienced wetter-than-expected conditions.

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