ALBION — Albion Town Councilman Darold Smolinske summed it up nicely.
There is a disconnect, Smolinske said during Tuesday’s council meeting, between what the town expects from its engineering firm and what Fleis and VandenBrink believes it is supposed to provide.
Fleis and VandenBrink Fort Wayne office manager Jay Stankiewicz spent approximately an hour answering questions Tuesday from dissatisfied town officials.
Stankiewicz’s firm has been tasked with designing street projects on East and West Hazel streets, West Main Street and Hickory Street, as well as some work to bring a couple of intersections into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
The original price tag for the engineering work was $130,660. As of Tuesday evening, the town had paid $110,274.50, or 84.6 percent of the total.
The end result of Tuesday’s exchange was the setting of another public meeting on July 9, where Stankiewicz will appear to explain what work the firm has done in addition to what was asked in the terms of the contract.
The addendum will go over expectations delineated in the original contract and compare it to what the town asked the firm to do in the 22 meetings that followed. The town asked that the addendum be provided by June 26 so the council would have time to go over it.
The addendum also will outline the exact additional cost the town has incurred by asking for these changes.
When pressed on how much this additional cost would be, Stankiewicz said he couldn’t know until the addendum was completed so pricing could be calculated. When pressed further, Stankiewicz said the price tag would be under an additional $100,000.
Town officials balked at the figure. Stankiewicz said he had no way of knowing what the cost would be, and that the $100,000 number was just a maximum guess.
“I’m going to have a cow if its $50,000,” Councilwoman Chris Magnuson said.
Stankiewicz was asked if the work preparing the addendum also would be charged to the town. He said that was a decision which would be left up to the principal owners of the firm.
Fleis and VandenBrink said it has completed 80% of its work on East and West Hazel streets, 50% on Hickory Street and 50% of the design work on ADA compliance for the Weber Road/S.R. 9 intersection. The West Main Street project is complete, with paving finished earlier this spring.
“We seem to have paid more than we think we’ve received at this point,” Smolinske said.
“I would agree we are behind,” Stankiewicz said.
But the engineer said the original deadlines were for the scope of the project as initially presented, not the numerous changes the town has asked for.
“Our scope has always been known,” Town Manager Stefen Wynn countered.
“There were meetings where additional scope was discussed,” Stankiewicz said.
Stankiewicz gave the example of the Weeks Street project. He said the original contract only called for designing partial sidewalk on the street, but eventually Fleis and VandenBrink was tasked with designing a project to include milling and resurfacing. That type of change creates more work that couldn’t have been done in the time allotted for designing sidewalks alone.
Stankiewicz said other delays came because the firm was waiting to see if portions of the project would even be funded, reasoning if it wasn’t, there was no rush for getting drawings completed.