$9K city sidewalk overrun approved

Council members cautioned the city to keep an eye on contracts, especially as work on city hall gets underway. Photo by Phil Custodio

BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
The city’s handling of sidewalk work this spring was a huge mistake, said Clarkston City Council member Sue Wylie.
“We really blew it – we should have asked for a contract,” Wylie said. “This was not what we bargained for. We have to do better in the future.”
City Council voted 6-1 to authorize the city to pay a total of $29,216.47, which is $9,216.47 over budget. Council member David Marsh voted “no.”
“Did we ask about topsoil or did they just put it in,” Marsh asked. “Did we sign a contract with anybody?”
“We did not,” responded City Manager Jonathan Smith. “The township signed the contract with the contractor and we piggybacked on the township’s contract.”
Contractor Italia Construction Inc. of Washington Township, Mich., billed the city $23,016.47 for sidewalk slab replacement, $1,800 for topsoil and seed, $3,100 for traffic control, and a $1,300 mobilization fee.
The bill is $1,000 less than presented to City Council on May 28, when it was tabled.
“I spoke to Italia and they agreed to take $1,000 off the mobilization fee,” Smith said. “They were already doing the township’s work and were already in the community. That takes a little sting out.”
For the work done, it was a good price, he added.
“I think the issue here is the surprise element,” he said. “The costs were unknown to us. We were piggybacking on the township. Technically, we never saw the contract. It was just all assumed the contract the township struck with Italia was in our favor.”
The lesson is to always see a copy of the contract, he said.
“We need to insist on seeing the contract and know exactly what ancillary costs might be there,” he said.
“We have to have it in writing so we can see it,” agreed Council member Al Avery. “When you assume, sometimes you make the wrong assumption.”
Council voted in July 2018 to approve $20,000 to replace 216 broken or damaged sidewalk slabs in the city, and the work was completed in April. The extra funds will come from the parking kiosk budget.