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No legal action yet on Marengo wastewater plant

MARENGO – The city canceled a special, closed-door meeting Monday, saying its attorney and staff need more time before a decision on legal action involving a $12 million upgrade of its wasterwater treatment plant.

The city abruptly stopped construction on the project in early September after the discovery of a buried landfill on the site.

City Manager Gary Boden said the city attorney needed more time to resolve issues with an outside contractor.

The council could decide on legal recourse when at its regular meeting Nov. 13, Boden said. "But I can't guarantee it," he said. "If issues are still not resolved, then it could go longer. ... It's a complicated matter."

Boden would not identify the contractor or elaborate on issues that need to be resolved.

The city has been planning to upgrade its decades-old wastewater plant for nearly 10 years.

The city officially broke ground on the plant in the summer. But construction was short-lived after third-party studies said a buried landfill on the site would add significantly to the cost of the project.

Construction was put on hold for at least a year and holes from construction have been refilled. The council also temporarily cut wastewater rates for residents that it raised significantly more than a year ago to finance the $12 million plant upgrade.

Boden previously said the city proceeded with construction on top of an old landfill because officials relied upon the advice of the project's designer, McMahon and Associates.

Officials have indicated the city would need to reassess its relationship with McMahon, which has been paid $400,000 of a $1.1 million city contract.

The council has been meeting in closed sessions for nearly a month to discuss possible litigation involving the plant delay.

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