BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Two changes to current city projects were approved Tuesday night increasing costs to the city by about $18,000.
At Tuesday’s regular City Council meeting, City Public Works Director Mark Bousselot outlined the two change orders to the council.
The first change order adds $3,664 to the Hwy. 61 reconstruction project from 6th to 10th Street due to an unforeseen resin shortage from manufacturing plants on the gulf coast.
A recent cold snap forced the closure of some chemical plants that produce the resin causing a shortage in the supply chain. Subcontractors for Jones Contracting Corp, out of West Point were able to identify a different supplier, but costs were higher from that supplier for the piping.
“The industries shut down and jacked their prices up which has forced orders to be cancelled. We are looking at additional costs of $3,664 for the same product from a different supplier that meets our specs,” Bousselot said.
Bousselot said the new pipe has been ordered by the subcontractor prior to the change order approval to prevent incurring additional costs as prices continue to rise.
Councilman Tom Schulz said since the city has signed a contract and the resin shortage wasn’t foreseen, the city’s probably on the hook for the increased costs.
“I like change orders almost as much as the mayor does and Mark and I had a good conversation about this,” Schulz said. “I did some research on this and as far as I’m concerned I think we’re contractually obligated on this change order. It’s a price increase outside the realm of the contractor or subcontractor.”
Mayor Matt Mohrfeld disagreed.
“Back at the end of the year, when I set my prices for the spring, diesel was $1 a gallon cheaper than it is now. I didn’t get to raise the prices on my plants.”
Schulz countered that if he had signed a contract to purchase Mohrfeld’s plants that included a possible price increase due to fuel prices, he’d be obligated to buy the plants.
Mohrfeld said there was nothing stopping the contractors from getting the pipe earlier when the contracts were awarded.
“I’m not with ya on this one. And they could blend it throughout the project…rock goes up and down all the time.
Bousselot said the when the contract was awarded, the contractor notified the subcontractor, but he couldn’t say how long the subcontractor waited to order the pipe.
Councilwoman Rebecca Bowker again pointed to the city’s responsibility in wording future contracts so that the vendor could be responsible for price increases after contracts are agreed upon.
The council approved the change order 6-1 with Kevin Rink voting against the measure. The council also approved an increase in the contract for the PORT trail.
According to report Bousselot prepared for the council, the change order requires lowering a water service line, adding a culvert, replacing a waterline, water run-off by the FMHS tennis courts, and additional costs for cold-weather concrete. The change order will result in an additional $65,135, of which approximately $50,000 will be covered by funds from the Fort Madison Hospital Community Foundation and Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission.
“I just want you to be aware that $52,000 of this is for additional trail going down 18th Street from the newly designed trail to the (FMHS) parking lot,” Bousselot said. “That is being funded by additional money from the hospital foundation and SIRRC.”
Schulz said the $52,000 amounts to an addition to the contract more than a change order.
He said the rest covers an aging water line that was discovered and he said it would better to replace that now than have to dig up the trail if it were to fail.
Councilwoman Donna Amandus said this isn’t the type of change order than can just be ignored
“It would be nice to be able to say no to spending extra money every time a change order comes around, but what happens if we get to do that. It’s really convenient for one or two councilman to say no, but what if the rest of say no, then what happens?”
Councilman Kevin Rink said the issue then comes back on the city to the contractor or the engineer.
“I hate change orders,” Rink said.
Schulz said a city staff member potentially saved the city money down the road. The change was approved with a unanimous 7-0 vote.
In other action, the council:
• approved a resolution to amend the urban revitalization plan to include multi-residential classifications.
• approved a resolution updating rezoning fees and setting a construction board of appeals hearing application fee.
• approved a one year agreement with Sanchez Boxing to lease city facilities for $1 per year. Utilities and regular maintenance are also the responsibility of the boxing club.