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Subcontractor makes case for $120,000

By Ben Rodgers

HOBART – A subcontractor working for another subcontractor, who worked for the village on a project, made his case before the village board at the Tuesday, July 2, meeting on why he is owed more than $120,000.

Mark Andrews of HOW Landscaping Services requested pay from the village for work he did for a 2018 street and road drainage project that has not yet been finalized.

“I take pride in my work,” Andrews said. “I take pride in being a village resident and a contractor. I’ve donated several projects to the village over the years. I don’t want to burn any bridges here, but I really need to get paid for this project.”

The majority of the $122,627 Andrews requested comes from a project with Northeast Asphalt and MCC serving as the prime contractors.

McKeefry & Sons served as the subcontractor Andrews was working under.

Andrews said he did work which he deemed was necessary given the circumstances of the job, the value of which he had verified by Mau & Associates, an independent party.

Paul Welter, senior project manager for Robert E. Lee & Associates, received the measured quantities of work done by Andrews from McKeefry & Sons, and he recommended not paying the full amount.

“We do not take issue with the quality of the final end result that is being achieved by HOW Landscaping. But, I cannot recommend full payment for the quantity that they have requested after they performed work that was not required. And after being informed to not continue performing work in the manner that they choose to do,” Welter wrote to Jerry Lancelle, public works director in an email on Sept. 4.

Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said change orders are approved prior to the work being completed, not after.

“I did not know about this potential overage until September or October when Jerry came into my office and said these have gone way over the budgeted amount,” Kramer said. “Well, you usually do the change orders prior to the work, not after the work, and that’s where I left this. I can’t sign this. To be blunt, that’s a career ender for me.”

At the meeting, no one from Northeast Asphalt, MCC or McKeefry & Sons was present, just Andrews and Welter.
Andrews did not have original bid information when asked for it by the board. He also did not have the original cost estimate.

The village also did not receive a final invoice for the project yet, even though it started last year.

“The village’s obligation is to pay its general contractor, and neither of them have presented us with an invoice,” said Rich Heidel, board president. “As we sit here tonight, we have not gotten an invoice on either of these projects.”

Because of that obligation, Kramer said the only thing he could place on an agenda would be a request from either of the prime contractors for funds that went over the bid amounts, because the village does not have a legal contract with HOW Landscaping.

“Even if I wanted to pay, I legally can’t,” Kramer said. “You have to have a legal binding bid document.”

In other news, the village agreed to a contract with Fair Market Assessments for a property revaluation.

“We’re at 95 percent (compliance) right now, and once we’re out of compliance, we have four years to correct it, and after that the Department of Revenue would contract with a firm and bill,” said Mike Denor, of Fair Market Assessments.

The agreement states the appraiser must visually inspect all parcels in the village, including updated exterior photos of principal buildings.

Denor informed village officials each property will be reviewed individually “to best reflect the market/assessed value.”

“The first thing when people hear reassessment is ‘My taxes are going up,’ that’s not necessarily the case,” Kramer said. “But at the same time, we don’t want to tell people you’re not going to see any increase in your taxes, because you might.”

The last time a village-wide reassessment was completed was 2007.

The results from this assessment will not have the potential to affect tax bills until 2022.

The estimated cost for the project is $60,000, which will come from the 2020 capital projects budget.

Finally, the village board agreed to formally authorize the transfer of $1.5 million in 2017 bond proceeds to the State Highway 29/VV Interchange project.

“Two years ago you issued a bond, part of that was $1.5 million to purchase land for a development project that has not come to pass,” Kramer said. “That money has not been spent, it’s just been collecting interest… I talked to our development advisor and asked if we can transfer funds to use for this project, and he said ‘absolutely.’”

Hobart’s tab for the project comes to $3.21 million, with the federal government paying close to $20 million in a federal grant.

The board also approved the transfer of County Highway U from Brown County to the village as part of the jurisdictional transfer for the project.

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