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Granite Shoals denies request for more money for water project

Granite Shoals water project

As the city of Granite Shoals moves forward on millions of dollars in water system upgrades, a contracted engineering firm was denied a request for additional funds after admittedly misjudging how much the project would cost. File photo 

After a face-off in a recent Granite Shoals City Council meeting concerning who is responsible for water project cost overruns, the council denied a request for $12,750 in additional money from TRC Engineering.

Company representative Craig Bell told the council that his firm would not conduct additional needed site inspections without further funding from the city.

“If the city wants us to run additional inspections, then we’d expect to get paid for that,” Bell said on behalf of TRC leadership.

The council ultimately denied the request on July 11 during its regular meeting.

City Manager Peggy Smith told that there would be “no delays” in the project without the additional inspections. The inspections are not required by law but are an internal tool used by the engineering firm to provide aid to the contractor on the job.

TRC has a $335,562 contract with the city of Granite Shoals to conduct engineering work on $3.14 million worth of water system improvements. The $12,750 request was for an additional 11 site inspections, more than doubling the original eight inspections that were included in the contract.

Bell explained to the council on June 27 that his firm had assumed eight inspections would be needed when the original contract was drawn up in 2019, but once work began in 2022, TRC realized it had massively underestimated the need for inspections.

City officials were not happy.

“I got a real problem burdening my residents and neighbors with this,” Mayor Kiel Arnone told Bell during the July 11 meeting. “You gave us the price and it was approved. Now you’re coming and asking for $13,000 more. I think you should probably eat (the cost). I think you should do these 11 inspections. I think you owe it to the city and the residents.”

According to Bell, the inspections are part of the building process alongside the contractor who is actually doing the construction. The specific circumstances of this job, and this particular contractor, warranted more inspections than originally thought, he said. 

“We assumed a certain quantity when we provided the original cost, and now we feel like we need to be out there more often,” he said.

Councilor Kevin Flack responded to Bell’s explanation.

“I think what has (the council) concerned is that you missed it by so much,” Flack said. 

Once Bell told council members that his firm would not provide the inspections without payment on July 11, they went into executive session and emerged with the unanimous decision to deny the additional funds.