Maggie is giving away the farm!!

free dirt

Hey y’all!!  Should be an interesting Special Council meeting Tuesday when Margaret Roberts and the rest of the Gritty Dirt Band give away the farm to Halifax Paving.
Dear Manager Harden,
Regarding contract negotiations with Halifax Paving to finish Lake “A,” the last Council meeting was distressing to all taxpayers concerned about how their money is spent in Port Orange. It was clear from the meeting, and from emails like the one below, that the City has no idea what the contours of the lake are or how much dirt has been removed from it.


By the same token, we have never been given a total figure for how much dirt has been delivered to the City by Halifax, and without knowing the total amount removed and the total amount delivered, it is impossible to know how much Halifax has kept.  In other words, we have no idea how much Halifax has been paid.  Added to this lack of basic information is the fact that the City has no idea how much it will cost to finish Lake “A.”  The email below indicates that Tomoka Construction has been asked to answer this question but it remains to be seen how complete or concrete their answer will be.

Tomoka proposal to finish

So, at this point Council will be asked to negotiate with the Contractor from these positions:
NOT knowing what we have,
NOT knowing how much it cost to get there, and
NOT knowing how much it will cost to get where we want to go.
The amount of work required to remedy this situation is small and inexpensive–completed surveys (including hydologic readings) of Lake “A” and the existing dirt pile and a few simple deletions for dirt used on City projects combined with concrete proposals to finish the job and we’re there.  Absent such hard information, the only reasonable course of action, if an extension is to be granted Halifax, is to do so without a reduction in the performance bond amount.
Another huge reason for not reducing the bond amount is that many aspects of the overall contract have been ignored to the detriment of the taxpayer and the benefit of Halifax Paving.  For example, Halifax agreed to widen Shunz Road, build two more spillways and grade and grass the dirt pile.  The email below indicates that the road widening and spillways add up to $164,000 which should be refunded in dollars or dirt to the City.  Coupled with the work on the dirt pile, the taxpayers of Port Orange are being short-changed close to $180,000!

Cost of remaining items

And the list goes on.  What about the 100,000 cubic yards of dirt the City was promised in Change Order #1?  What about the penalty clause in Change Order #3 that was supposed to kick in if Lake “A” was not completed by the end of 2010?  Just more reasons not to reduce the bond amount until the lake is actually finished.
But the single greatest reason for not making any concessions on the bond amount is the one we don’t want to discuss openly:  the contractor cannot be trusted honor a business agreement.  This has been demonstrated in the past with repeated missed deadlines and their treatment of Lake “A” as a private Borrow Pit, and most recently with their “fantasy commitment” to a dirt purchase agreement (see below).

Dirt sale snafu

I have a hard time with treating million-dollar contracts as some kind of joke and sincerely hope the City Council holds Halifax Paving accountable for both their past obligations and future commitments.
Mike Gardner
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL  32127

7 thoughts on “Maggie is giving away the farm!!

    • January 25, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      Welcome back Hank!

  • January 25, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    The way I see it; once again the Mayor is calling the shots on this scam from behind the scenes.
    He is controlling the strings on the City Attorney just like a master puppeteer. She is defiantly kowtowing to all his instruction.
    The state’s Attorney General office should be called in on this one.

    • January 26, 2015 at 6:39 am

      I agree with you Lynn. Something is “rotten in Denmark”. The City Attorney is being paid to protect the citizens but it appears she is following orders from the Mayor. The Attorney General’s Office would their hands full sorting out all of the sneaky backdoor business of the past couple of years. My guess is that someone would go to jail or at least lose their license to practice law. I think she is walking a fine line.

  • January 26, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Nothing unusual here. The utility contractor as usual has presented a happy face analysis. Utility staff as usual is precluded from presenting a meaningful analysis. Council as usual is demanding nothing and our contractor Mayor is quietly covering 10 years of likely ill gotten gains by manipulating the Manager and Attorney to give away the farm as usual. .
    If it weren’t for Citizens For a Better Port Orange like Mike Gardner bringing inconvenient information forward this of give away would be going through on the Consent Agenda as it usually did in the past.
    One emerging development that we will be keeping a close eye on is increasing propensity of some on Council to seek out staff ‘ assurances ‘ — that all is well and complete, as a basis for a responsible vote. That is complete nonsense. If the basis of Councils vote is ” assurances ” then of what value are those votes and why bother having them.

    • January 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      “By manipulating the Manager and Attorney”
      Wouldn’t accountability of the four Council peers avoid this ? Unless they too have knowledge of what has taken place and condone it ? Or unless they are merely blind and ignorant ?
      It amazes me that no Council member has had the nerve to post up the Mayor.

  • January 27, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I was not able to find tonight’s meeting on TV or the Internet. Can anybody advise what they did with the farm?
    Thank You


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