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.
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!
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).
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.
618 Ruth St
Port Orange, FL 32127