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LaFollette council shoots down $85K change order

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By PETER SAWYER

Tuesday night, the LaFollette City Council decided to not approve an $85,716 change order to a roofing project. The project involves repairing a section of city hall’s roof that covers the police station. Instead the council decided to advertise for bids to repair city hall’s entire roof.
Before bids will be advertised, interim city administrator Jimmy Jeffries will come to an agreement with Mike Malicote, owner of Dixie Roofing, who had the contract. Dixie Roofing obtained the contract at a special called meeting on Jan. 18. Malicote’s company had the low bid of $21,976.
When employees for Dixie Roofing dug out samples of the roof, they discovered there was water inside it, Malicote said last week.
Malicote recommended the council change the project to conform to specifications he obtained with help from Michael Brady, Inc. last year that would require the old roof be removed to the deck with new materials installed at a slope, so rain could drain off the building.
“We can’t do that Mike,” council member Hansford Hatmaker said. “We can’t have a change order that much.”
The change order would cost an additional $85,716, bringing the project’s total cost to $107,692.
The additional cost would include replacing two HVAC units, Malicote said.
“Is this the cheapest way to go?” council member Bob Fannon asked.
The council could pay less money, but the roof wouldn’t last as long, Malicote said. The roof would last 20 years if Malicote installed it according to his specifications, he said.
Malicote showed the Michael Brady, Inc. specifications to the council at the Feb. 25 workshop.
However, the specifications that were used when the project was bid didn’t require a slope be added to the roof, nor for the deeper layers of insulation, down to the deck, be removed, Malicote said last week. If Malicote finished the project according to the specifications it was bid with, he wouldn’t fix the roof properly, Malicote said.
“If you put a new roof on over all that moisture that’s there, it’s not going to last,” Malicote said.
Finishing the current project would only cover wet materials, and the same problem with leaks would persist because there is as much water under the roof as on top of it, Malicote said Tuesday night.
Hatmaker asked Malicote about the condition of the roof in comparison to before work began on it.
“You’re just like you were,” Malicote said. This is because water is trapped under the roof, he said.
City attorney Reid Troutman recommended taking bids for the whole roof as one project.
“The specs just weren’t correct in the first place,” Troutman said. “It deviates so far from those original specs. I think we’re going to have to bid it again.”
If the city took bids on a project to repair the whole roof, effectively voiding the project Malicote has a contract to repair, the city would owe Malicote money, Mayor Mike Stanfield said.
“We’re going to compensate him for that work,” Troutman said.
However, Hatmaker disagreed with this recommendation. He suggested Malicote finish the contract he had placed a bid to complete, without a change order.
“He expects to be paid and I expect him to live up to the contract,” Hatmaker said. “Right or wrong.”
“That don’t make no sense,” Stanfield said.
“Better than giving it to him,” Hatmaker said.
Council Member Joe Bolinger asked if Malicote could negotiate the price of the $21,976 contract.
Malicote acknowledged there is room for negotiation, but he expects to be paid back for the expenses he’s already put into the project.
Hatmaker made a motion to rebid the roofing project and for the city to come to an agreement with Malicote about reimbursing him for his investment in the contract. Jeffries will meet with Malicote to negotiate a price before the next workshop. At the next meeting, the council will vote to advertise bids.
Malicote pointed out he was at a disadvantage because the price he would charge for installing the new roof was discussed openly at the Feb. 25 workshop. Fannon agreed, and recommended the council consider this when accepting bids.
In order to fund a roofing project, the council approved using community service funds in certificates of deposit that will mature later in the year. The council also approved taking money from the fund balance to pay for the roof if it needs to. The money will be replaced with the community service funds later, said Terry Sweat, director of finance.