WELLSVILLE - For the second time in less than four months, village council voted against paying an invoice from GGJ Engineering due to questions regarding accumulated billings.
At Tuesday evening's meeting, councilwoman Diane Dinch asked village solicitor Andy Beech about council's options regarding increased charges from GGJ due to additional work claimed in the company's billing for the 12th Street force main improvement project. Beech replied that it likely falls under the provisions for "extraordinary, unforeseen issues" or "requested services" in the firm's contract with Wellsville.
"That doesn't mean you don't have a right to ask for documentation or explanations, things like that," he added.
Aside from visits and meetings at village hall, only pressure testing and visual inspection of the existing line has actually been completed, according to Edgell. "I've seen Pete in village hall twice since this all began, with the presentation and the bid," Edgell said of Pete Callaghan from GGJ. "So they've been here, but there's been no communication between Pete and I as to the reason for his being here."
Dinch was seeking an explanation for 35 hours of what the statement referred to as "resident observation," which accounts for $2,642 of the $5,300.75 invoice. In June, council members balked at a $12,727.50 invoice from GGJ for work on the new pump station on Second Street, which contained numerous billings for "construction observation" and "construction management."
According to Edgell, GGJ has requested an additional $3,000 on top of the initial $4,500 contract between the firm and Wellsville. He estimates that $2,642 accounts for the bulk of that $3,000 increase. "I know we are at a minimum with our funds to begin with," Dinch said.
As for how the hours accumulated, Mayor Susan Haugh spoke of the instance in August, before the testing of the line was completed, when the length of the line was toured on foot by Callaghan and representatives from Wellsville Terminals, under which the line runs. "That probably lasted ... two, two and a half hours?" Haugh said.
Edgell also pointed out that GGJ charges from "portal-to-portal," meaning the drive time from the firm's suburban Cleveland office to Wellsville and back to Cleveland - which was estimated as three hours each way - is included in their billing.
Further confusion arose when councilman Don Brown moved for a vote on the payment of the invoice over whether the $3,000 increase had actually been factored into the $5,300.75 total. A discussion between Dinch and councilwoman Tonda Ross - with other council members, the mayor and fiscal officer Cassie Bloor scanning through the invoice packet - concluded that the $3,000 hike was not included in the total, but the contentious $2,642 "resident observation" fees were.
In the end, the payment went down in defeat, with Brown was the only council member to vote for it. Councilman Tony Cataldo was absent and excused from the meeting.