Forks 'Nickel and Dimed' Over Public Works Building
Forks Township Supervisors decide not pay a bill for "architectural services" related to the public works building project.
In it’s first regular meeting of the year, the Forks Board of Supervisors decided on Jan. 3 not to pay an $8,040.59 bill to the architects contracted to design the new public works building.
The problem, supervisors said, is that they weren’t quite sure what the bill was for. The invoice from architectural firm Kimmel-Bogrette simply read, “Architectural Services – re-bidding services.”
“We’ve paid bills like this a couple times before,” Supervisor David Billings said. “How do we get them to stop doing this so we’re not nickel and dimed to death?”
One solution was to not pay the bill.
The project is already $1 million over budget because the lowest bid for construction was $4.75 million, but the township had only budgeted $3.7.
A second solution aired by new supervisor Dan Martyak was to pay the bill, but also send Kimmel-Bogrette a letter stating that that was going to be the last bill the township paid for its services.
The township had a contract with Kimmel-Bogrette that included a $96,800 cap on expenses associated with a re-design of the public works building. The township has already paid about $80,000 of that.
The building actually had a couple re-designs; one at the supervisors’ request because the first bids to construct the original building were too high. A new design was made for another round of bids.
A second re-design occurred after the township discovered that PPL has a right-of-way on the site – at Newlins and Richmond roads – which required the entire building to be moved.
The township is seeking payment for that from the title company that had investigated the property.
“I guess I don’t understand where the right-of-way comes in with this bill,” said Supervisor Robert Egolf. “Which redesign is this for?”
Zoning Officer Tim Weiss told supervisors he thought the bill was for relocating the driveway and retention pond on the design plans because of the PPL easement. But the bill from Kimmel-Bogrette does not mention that.
Billings made a motion not to pay the bill and Egolf seconded it. In the voting, new supervisor John O’Neil joined them, with Chairman Erik Chuss and Vice-chair Martyak voting against.
In a 3-2 vote, the supervisors agreed not to pay the bill and directed Township Solicitor Karl Kline to send Kimmel-Bogrette a letter explaining the board's decision.
The board next meets Jan. 19.