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Oskaloosa pool project held up on legal details

by Dennis Sharkey

 

Construction crews are ready to begin work on the rehabilitation project for the Oskaloosa city pool but the official contract must be rewritten.

The council went into closed session to have the discussion at the request of City Attorney Mike Hayes.

Oskaloosa swimming pool

Oskaloosa swimming pool

After closed session the discussion seemed to indicate that several items were left out of the contract presented to the city by the contractor of the project.

Hayes said the contract submitted was a form that essentially had the blanks filled in and may not include up to date standards. He suggested the city engineer review the contract in that respect.

Hayes told the council that the contractor is not going to write the contract with the city’s best interest in mind.

“The person who writes the contract is going to write the contract most favorable to them,” Hayes said.

Councilman John Norman said he had concerns that no benchmarks were outlined in the contract for work completion.

“We don’t know when we stop or start or what’s complete,” Norman said.

Councilman Gary Bryant said he wanted language added that specified disposal of the old plaster from the pool. Bryant said he also wants to see a cap placed on the total contract price.

The contract states the bid amount but also says subject to changes. Counselor Jan Hayes said the bid amount is the final price and change orders would have to be approved for the price to change.

Mayor Mike Boyd said if changes need to be made, the costs should not come from the city’s pocket.

“If he signs that contract, he’s acccepting that responsibility,” Boyd said.

Time is of the essence. In order to get the project completed before opening day next spring construction crews will need to get to work as soon as possible so that concrete work can begin before winter.

“Until this gets signed we’re stuck,” Boyd said.

In other actions:

• Boyd started a somewhat heated debate during discussion about cutting internet service to the city shop to save about $40 a month.

Boyd told council members that he thought it was moot to talk about saving $40 a month when the city has an empty building on the books but pays rent for city offices and for city council meetings.

“If you’re going to start complaining about a $40 internet bill I’m going to start complaining about the $600 to $700 rental bill,” Boyd said.

Norman said the city is trying to sell the building which would solve a lot of the problem.

“Aren’t we trying to do something about that?” Norman responded. “That’s the first step.”

The building has been for sale for about two months with little to no interest. Council members decided to give the process six months before moving on with a plan to renovate the building into City Hall.

Boyd said the city could be using the building while they wait for a buyer. He said cubicles and space heaters could be used.

“In my eyes it’s ridiculous to be paying rent when we have that,” Boyd said. “It’s been my number one complaint.

“It can be done for a whole lot cheaper than $800 a month,” Boyd remarked.

Councilwoman Kathy Griffin said each council person had their own approach and that they needed to work together.

“I know certain things are touchy for certain people but we all have issues we want to deal with and a little bit goes a long way,” she said.

• The council heard from a resident concerned about the lighting on the street in front of her house. The city will visit with Westar about new bulbs or additional lighting.

• The council met with Brian Janus about internet accessibility equipment that is located on the city’s water tower. The city had allowed the equipment to be installed on the tower in exchange for free internet service, however, the city quit using the service several years ago.

Janus approached the city about donating the equipment and leaving it on the tower for free wireless access for residents.

Boyd said the city may survey residents to see if there is a need.

• Norman reported that four or five properties will be turned over to the city court system for structure violations. The property owners have been given several months to comply.

• Part of Cherokee Street from K-92 Highway moving south will be closed on Nov. 20 for an auction.

• The city approved a water leak adjustment to the sewer bill for a resident in the amount of $50.

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Posted by on Nov 1 2011. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Oskaloosa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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