Councilmen upset with added depot costs

Schulz says amendment is due to “crappy” engineering work

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – An amendment for $60,000 to cover costs of additional construction inspection expenses drew fire from a Fort Madison councilman Tuesday night.

The amendment to the agreement between the city and Klingner & Associates P.C. of Quincy, Illinois for services related to the relocation of the Amtrak passenger depot to Riverview Park is for expenses required by the Iowa Department of Transportation for monitoring and testing frequencies that were extended due to delays caused by “weather and unforeseen existing conditions”, according to a report from city Public Works Director Mark Bousselot.

The amendment is also being back-dated a week to May 24 and increases the agreement to a total of $236,090.

“We now have a gun to our head. Two months ago this should have come to us with a ‘Hey this project is going to go long and we’re going to need more money, but instead we wait and we say we have to change it, and then back date to May because we’ve already used up all our money,” Councilman Tom Schulz fired at the council.

“This is just crappy work from a crappy engineering firm.”

Schulz said he understands that Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld has tried to hold the engineering firm accountable to previous issues and they seem to be doing better as the project moves forward, but the problems should have been foreseen.

“They may be doing a fine job at this point and going forward, but by God they created this situation and we’re being told we have to write the checks for it.”

Mohrfeld said the city would have had to write the check to Klingner anyway, because the new inspections are required by the DOT and weather has drawn the project out. He said Klingner has written off some costs due to previous issues the city has pointed out.

“He gave me a whole billable list that they wrote off, and none of us complained about that,” Mohrfeld said.

“Now I’m not going to say it was $60,000 it was more like $27,000.”

Councilman Rusty Andrews said Klingner did make an effort to balance things out when the city was upset with some flaws in the original designs.

“They ate some costs,” Andrews said.

In a letter written to City Manager David Varley on May 26, Eric Barnes, of Klingner indicated the approved fees of $176,090 had been exhausted and the firm was projecting another 10 weeks of services and asked the city for an additional $60,000 in fees to complete the engineering tasks.

Varley and Bousselot recommended the amendment be approved.

Mohrfeld said if they council didn’t pay the additional fees the project would be dead where it stands.

The motion to approve the amendment passed 6-2 with Schulz and Kevin Rink, who regularly opposes any change orders on contracts, voted against the amendment.

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