The Putnam County Commission hesitantly allocated $60,000 more in funds for a Valley Park improvement project at a recent meeting in Winfield.
The total project was about $16 million and was funded through a TIF district. The extra money will pay to fix a pipe underneath the parking lot that was compromised during construction.
The damaged pipe was found while crews were working on a project to upgrade the wave pool at the facility.
Part of the commission’s hesitation was because it was unclear how the pipe was damaged.
“In our discussions with the architect, there was some uncertainty about what happened,” County Commission President Andy Skidmore said.
Don Gatewood, vice president of Wolf Creek Contracting, said the change order was never questioned by AGI Consulting, the engineering firm the commission hired to work on the project.
Gatewood said the contracting firm gave an initial estimate that cost less than what they requested. At first he thought the expense would be between $40,000 to $50,000.
“We were asked in good faith to say ‘What do you think this is going to cost?’” Gatewood said. “I gave a guesstimate, and now that’s coming back to haunt us.”
Skidmore told Gatewood that “other entities involved seemed to believe things you don’t.”
The contracting company also provided a report explaining the damage, but Commissioner Ron Foster said he was “unsatisfied” with it. He added that this could have been avoided if the commission had a site inspector on the project.
After some negotiation, the commission agreed to provide the contracting company with some of the funding they asked for.
Initially, Wolf Creek Contracting requested $63,000 for the repair. The commission first agreed to $57,000, but then the two parties compromised on $60,000.
Commissioner Steve Andes said the commission had to consider carefully whether to grant the change order because there is taxpayer money involved.
“It’s not my money. I’m concerned about the citizens of Putnam County. It’s the taxpayers’ dollars,” Andes said.