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Commissioners approve $16K contract overage

Dickinson city commissioners Tuesday approved a $16,000 overage on a $100,000 contract with Fargo-based Wenck Engineering.

Wenck went over budget on a contract for a suitability investigation into a property north of the city landfill for a possible expansion, Gary Zuroff, public works director, said.

Per contract, Wenck is not allowed to bill over $100,000 without prior authorization. So far, the city has been billed $98,989.93, Zuroff said, but there is $16,000 more due.

Andrew Feia, Wenck environmental scientist, said Wenck conducted the field investigation from Nov. 11 to Dec. 8, 2017. This work included drilling to collect samples for analysis and present a report on the suitability of the site.

Overages were incurred due to being delayed for a month from poor weather, additional detailed photography of the site, extra precautions being taken due to the private landowner's cattle unexpectedly grazing on the land, installing additional monitoring wells following cave-ins, and repairing land slumps from boring to prevent injury to the cattle, among other work.

"The items listed were not typical of an investigation of this nature based on the original proposal and scope versus what we actually did in the field," Feia said.

Feia acknowledged that Wenck did not receive formal approval from the city prior to doing the additional work.

Commissioner Carson Steiner made the motion to approve the overage, but noted this was the second time this year a contract had gone over budget.

"It's adding up," Steiner said. "I don't know what we got to do to get it out there that if there's additional work we want to be contacted first before this work is done so we know if we need to adjust our budgets and contracts."

Mayor Scott Decker said he would like to see more oversight on the city's larger projects.

A complete report has been delivered to the city and will be summarized for presentation to the commissioners later this summer, Jan Murtha, city attorney, said.

"We took several hours to review the report," she said. "There's a lot of information about the land in this particular area that will be important for the commission to consider."

Zuroff said he is happy with the scope of work that has been done.

Commissioners also approved a contract with Wenck for 2018 general landfill services not to exceed $39,500.

This will be Wenck's seventh year providing these services, Zuroff said.

Services include providing an annual report, quarterly monitoring report, annual survey and yearly assistance.

"We've been happy with their general landfill services," Zuroff said.

Commissioners also approved a proposal from Wenck for $15,000 for an air quality permit application.

Per North Dakota Department of Health rules, once a landfill reaches a capacity of 2.5 million cubic meters, the facility needs a Title V air quality permit to operate.

Wenck will assist with the permit application and criteria to meet NDDOH requirements, Zuroff explained.

Also for the Public Waste Department, commissioners approved a single bid for $294,000 from Olympic Sales Inc. of Fargo for a new compactor and two transfer trailers, which will facilitate the city's upcoming recycling program.

The low bid was "better than we anticipated."

"We were conservative in our estimated cost of $400,000," Zuroff said. "We thought the trailers would be more."

Commissioner Steiner responded publicly to news that the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library was going to be located in Medora, not Dickinson.

In 2017, the city had given the library's foundation $300,000, 10 percent of a local match of $3 million for the project, in "good faith."

"It appears to me, I don't think we have any friends of the library outside of the city," he said. "In the end, they did nothing for Dickinson. Not a thing. They used our money to go out and run an end-round game on us."

Steiner suggested that the city attorney request the money be returned to the city.

Decker said that discussion has already begun.

"I made it quite clear," he said, "if this project was not in Dickinson, we would ask for it back. And I made it clear to different entities our money is staying here. It's not going anyplace else."