2011-01-22 / Editorials & Letters

Here’s the Council President’s report: January 10, 2011

Discussion Regarding Recent Projects.

The Mayor and I met with Jack Christy about a week ago to discuss some of the recent alleged criticism from the local news media. In my opinion, all the ME employees have been very willing to field and/or discuss any questions we have had at any time. On many occasions, questions come up in the office and Jack Christy has been more than willing to give us guidance without any extra charges to our account. I know I have called Jack anytime I have had a question and the Mayor said he has done the same. The Village hasn’t paid extra in any case. And I understand that Jack also helped Toby get set up in the very beginning. That wasn’t necessarily something specified in our contract with ME, but he was glad to do it.

During our discussion, we asked for clarification on why the contractor did not reimburse the Village for the two days they were late finishing the project. Contracts for work being done in municipalities have the late clause in them in the event a contractor does not fulfill the contract in the allotted time and the work that has not been completed becomes a detriment to the municipality. For example, it was in our contract with Millersport that if we were not ready to start buying water from them by a certain date, we would owe them so much, I think it was, per diem until the water was going to our customers. Not being ready on time would have been a tremendous detriment to their water budget. A two-day delay is a negligible amount of time in a project of this length. I believe more time than that was lost due to rain. Could the Village try to collect the money for a two-day delinquency? Yes, but it would probably cost more to collect than we would get due to the delay.

There was some reference in the news media regarding whether, or not, we were still getting stimulus money for the upcoming water line installation. The stimulus money for us has been used. What we have available is no-interest loan which could have potentially been lost as a result of the new state administration. There is no way to tell what will happen through the changing of the guard.

Some of the engineering firm’s charges were brought into question. ME’s billing is not out of line with other engineering firms. As far as the charges quoted in the news media, those were billing-hour amounts, not someone’s individual salary. Any business has overhead and accounts for it in some fashion, be it directly, or indirectly. After all, don’t we pay for advertising in the news media? Maybe the cost to advertise is too high!!

Jack has had the opportunity to view the work of other paving contractors, and he felt Chemcote followed the specifications of the contract and did a good job. He said that anytime they accidently damaged anything, they paid for it immediately.

Since the news media made public records requests from the funding agencies, the vice-president of ME wrote letters to all our funding agencies to see if they had a problem with anything ME had done with regards to the work they performed for the Village of Buckeye Lake. None of them had a single problem.

I have no problem with anything ME has done for and/or with the Village. I feel we have gotten our money’s worth, and more. Before we even contracted with ME, Kevin Wood was willing to sit down with me and bring me up to date on the history of the pursuit of water in this Village. He did that more than once. When we got in a position to research our options for getting water, we put out a letter requesting qualifications from engineering firms. I think we had over 20 firms respond and we narrowed it down to six or seven for final interviews. From that we chose ME because we felt at that time that they would do the best job for us. I feel we made a good decision and when you make a decision like that, you are saying you put your trust in the guidance that firm will give. You have to trust your engineers – that was stated by a prominent government official in Millersport.

In the event that you want to look into the financials of the water and paving projects, we can make that information available. Be prepared to spend some time at it as there is quite a stack. Please let me know if you want to do this as it will take some time to gather.

The bottom line here is: the only entities ME, Stillion, or Chemcote really need to satisfy are the funding agencies and the Village of Buckeye Lake. We have completed a seven million dollar project that has cost us very little. The grant money and stimulus money we received was largely due to ME engineering. Owing this small amount of money for our water project allows us to charge our customers only $29.00 per month as opposed to almost $50.00 per month. That’s excellent in anyone’s book!!!

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