Concordia City Commission Moves Toward Completion of Phase I Improvements at the Wastewater Treatment Plant

By Jim Lowell
Concordia Blade-Empire

Moving toward completion of Phase I of the improvements at the wastewater treatment plant, the Concordia City Commission approved deductive change order #2 with APAC-Kansas, Inc. in the amount of $24,000 during its regular meeting on Wednesday night.

City Manager Amy Lange informed the commissioners that change order #2 finalizes the date of substantial completion of the wastewater treatment plant project, the date of final completion and the contract amount.

The change order for $24,000 brings the total contract price for the project to $2,346,305.20.

A bid from APAC-Kansas was accepted by the city of Concordia in March of 2017 in the amount of $2,348,353 for Phase I of the treatment plant improvements.

The original substantial completion date for the project was April 10, 2018.

"We are finally nearing completion of Phase 1 of the wastewater treatment plant. Work has gone pretty well, quality of work has been good, the length of time has not," Lange said.

During a commission meeting earlier this year, the commissioners were informed that the city was assessing liquidated damages against APAC-Kansas.

Lange, in a memo, stated that the completion date of this project took approximately three months longer than originally anticipated for a variety of reasons.

The memo also states that the city assessed liquidated damages in the amount of $42,000 per the contract for delays deemed the responsibility of the contractor. The goal of the liquidated damages contract provision is for the owner to recover additional costs incurred by the owner as a result of delayed completion of the project. The delayed completion of the project cost the city $32,400 in additional inspection/construction observation fees by the engineer. No other costs were incurred by the city as the plant was operational during the entire project. The contractor took the position they were not responsible for the delay for which they were being assessed and believed they owed nothing in liquidated damages. The engineer agreed with the owner's assessment of liquidated damages.

It was stated that the mediation clause was removed from the contract between the owner and contractor, thereby leaving only the remedy of arbitration if a settlement agreement could not be reached between the representatives of the owner and the contractor for the amount of liquidated damages.

A settlement agreement of $24,000, and extension of the final completion date by an additional 10 days, was reached.

Upon approval of the change order, the final pay application, including retainage, will be made to APAC-Kansas.

Mayor Sam Sacco voiced his concerns about doing business with APAC-Kansas in the future.

"As long as I am sitting here I never want to see a contract with their name on it because their contracts aren't worth anything," Sacco said. "If they can't stand by their contract, I think it is time this city stands up to people who won't abide by their contracts. This is my own personal feeling."

Lange said that she did inform APAC-Kansas, because of their quality on work wastewater treatment plant and the waterline work on Sixth Street, she would not recommend that the commission not deem the company not a responsible bidder.

In other action taken during the meeting, the commission approved the 2019 professional service agreement for CloudCorp at a cost of $58,000.

Under the agreement, CloudCorp agrees to provide programs and services to businesses and industries expanding in Cloud County, especially in Concordia.

CloudCorp Executive Director Ashley Hutchinson said the only change in the agreement is the addition of the facilitation of Cloud County Opportunity Zone projects to the list of services provided.

"The entire east side of town is now an Opportunity Zone, so It will be CloudCorp's mission to help cultivate projects there. We have learned a little bit more about Opportunity Zones, and have learned that we don't necessarily have to set up our own fund, there is plenty of capital out there. They are just looking for projects," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson, who is stepping down from her position at the end of the year, informed the commissioners that the search for her replacement is ongoing.

"We have some good applicants, so I would expect we will see some movement on that very soon," Hutchinson said.

An on-call engineering consulting agreement with Campbell & Johnson Engineers, PA for 2019 in the amount of $17,400, to be paid from the general fund in 12 monthly installments, was approved by the commission.

"We have been with Campbell & Johnson for nearly 50 years and they provide good, quality service for us," Lange said.

Purchasing a new scoreboard, at a cost of $21,994.24, from Nevco Scoreboard Company for Doyen Field at the Concordia Sports Complex was approved by the commission. The city, from the Parks and Recreation fund; Unified School District 333; and Cloud County Community College will contribute $3,000 each toward the purchase of the scoreboard.

Concordia High School baseball coach Brandt Hutchinson has written a Community Foundation for Cloud County grant application in the amount of $12,994.24 to help cover the cost of the scoreboard.

Chris Atkins, city wellness and recreation director, said that if the grant funds are not received than the remaining costs would be replenished by advertising contributions.

Also approved by the commission during the meeting included:
- An ordinance to vacate a portion of a drainage easement in the southeast corner of the College Drive Park addition, near the intersection of Lincoln Street and College Drive, for the purpose of providing a fully developable commercial lot.
- Allowing the city manager to sign an agreement with Campbell & Johnson Engineers, P.A. to provide engineering services for the purpose of design, bid specifications, bid letting and construction inspection on a mill and overlay project on Archer Street from Fifth Street to 11th Street, at a cost of $13,740. It was the only bid received on the project.
- A resolution setting the public hearing date for an unsafe and dangerous structure at 428 East 11th Street for January 16th at 5:30 pm at City Hall. The house has been vacant since a fire earlier this year.
- Affirm the exempt property status for IRB certification for Concordia Tractor, Inc.
- Reappoint Stacey Smith to the Housing Authority Board for a three-year term.
- A resolution updating the city's personnel handbook.
- A resolution supporting the implementation of the sun safety public health program in Concordia. The program is designed to raise public awareness in the prevention of skin cancer and provide sunscreen in public venues including the sports complex, swimming pool and Broadway Plaza.

The commission met in executive session for 10 minutes, with Lange and city attorney Justin Ferrell for preliminary discussion of acquisition of real estate.

Concordia Blade-Empire staff writer Russell Gagnon served as honorary mayor during the meeting as part of his research on an upcoming article about the city commission.