By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
At least part of the Olive Hill city council was satisfied enough with Trane’s progress report on the water treatment update to approve releasing their payment. But it was a close vote, and council still has questions they want answered on the project.
Trane had an on-site project manager and a corporate representative on hand last Tuesday to answer questions and address the city’s concerns. Those concerns, which held up the release of a scheduled payment during the city’s July regular meeting, included questions about how close to completion the plant was, what delays were still expected, and what work was being done while waiting for supplies.
The on-site representative told council they had all masonry on site now, and the first floor exterior block had been laid. In addition, he said, about half of the interior block had been laid and the clarifier equipment has all been delivered and was being installed. They were also around halfway finished with the installation of necessary underground piping, he said.
When council asked questions about potential cost-overages associated with delays the on-site supervisor assured council the company was “not going to come back and seek any claims,” for any over runs.
The corporate representative added that “the fact we found hidden conditions (at this site) was very unique.”
They did not provide more insight into what those “hidden conditions” were before departing, with the meeting still in session. Council was also unable to provide any additional information on what that term meant after adjourning the meeting.
This lack of transparency or clarity was emblematic of his concerns over the project, councilman Kirk Wilburn explained.
“What my problem is, for one, I haven’t seen the contract,” Wilburn told the Trane representatives. He also said if they had gone over budget and did expect the city to pay more than they had contractually agreed to the “city doesn’t have it.”
City clerk and treasurer Chimila Hargett asked the representatives how the contract addressed overages, with the corporate representative noting the “very specific” conditions of the contract.
But councilman Eric Rayburn reminded the representatives, “council doesn’t have (a copy of) the contract.”
Rayburn then repeated previous questions, asking what percentage of the water treatment project was complete and what the expected overage was “based on the current situation.”
But while mayor Jerry Callihan reminded Rayburn and Wilburn that the total energy savings program included not just the water treatment plant, but also an already completed street light project, the duo were unswayed.
Wilburn noted that the city had paid “around 68 percent” of a $9 million plus contract. However, he continued, “I can’t vote to pay for something (we) haven’t received.”
Without the contract, and more information on the progress of the water treatment plant, Wilburn said, he didn’t have enough information to make him satisfied the city has gotten the same percentage of work they’ve paid for.
Councilman Chris Bledsoe made the motion to pay the next installment, seconded by Shannon Shutte. Bledsoe, Shutte, and Justin Dixon voted in favor of the payment, with Wilburn and Rayburn voting against the measure.
In other action mayor Jerry Callihan told a citizen at the meeting that he would get city crews on repairing potholes and pulling ditches on Wildcat Drive following complaints. But, he said, because of a lack of asphalt the potholes would be repaired with gravel only at this time.
Council also heard a progress update on the new police station and discussed occupational taxes and business licenses. Council voted to approve a request to grant a business license to Paws Inn dog grooming, noting they had been attempting to purchase one but had issues obtaining it due to confusion related to mixed-use zoning.
In related news, council failed to adopt a resolution granting conditional use of property for a new A Center 4 Change residential treatment facility on Town and Country Lane. Council noted that the business owners are currently out of compliance with business license requirements on their other businesses as well as occupational tax requirements for their employees while allowing the resolution to die for lack of a motion.
Council also discussed their memorandum of understanding with the school board concerning the employment of a school resource officer. That agreement funds the officer’s pay for a full year as well as defining the job and setting the salary for the officer. In addition to school day coverage the agreement includes coverage of sporting events and other school activities. Dixon made the motion to accept the agreement, seconded by Wilburn, with the motion passing unanimously.
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