Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TOP STORY >>Payoff held till center in compliance

Leader staff writer

Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams says the final bill on the city’s new community center won’t be paid until the building complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and issues with the cost overruns have been resolved.

The budget committee of the Cabot City Council voted earlier this month to send the cost overruns created by change orders to the council where paying the $74,382 arguably still owed to the architects and construction manager could be discussed by all the members.

But that item was not on the agenda for the Monday night council meeting as expected because Williams is now talking to the architects and construction manager instead.

“We have hired a civil engineer to do a detailed analysis of all ADA issues and all the ADA issues will be resolved,” Williams said Tuesday.

As for the unpaid balance of $44,761 to architects Taggard, Foster, Currence and Gray and the $29,619 not reimbursed to the construction manager, Kullander Construction, for change orders, Williams says he’s waiting for legal advice. “At this point, from a legal standpoint, we’re going to see what our options are,” he said.

The total cost of the community center including the $300,000 for furnishings, is about $4.9 million. Williams said he first learned that the new building was not ADA compliant when he took office in January. Williams said Mikel Kullander has agreed to make the necessary modifications to bring it into compliance at no cost to the city.

Although City Attorney Jim Taylor told the budget committee that he recommended the city pay the bills from the architects and the construction company, Williams said this week that he is doing more research now. Taylor told the budget committee earlier this month that the contract with the architects gave them authority to approve change orders for the city, but it said they were to provide written copies of the change orders and proper documentation as to the necessity of the change orders.

However, the contract didn’t specify when the city should receive the paperwork. In this case, the change order was prepared in April after City Attorney Jim Taylor asked for it, and there was no supporting documentation. All the change orders were verbal and authorized by Jim Towe, the former mayor’s public works director.