Marthasville rejects additional $31,000 invoice for water tank

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 9/30/22

The city of Marthasville and a company building a new 300,000-gallon water tank are in dispute over $31,000 in charges for extra foundation work to prepare for construction of the massive …

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Marthasville rejects additional $31,000 invoice for water tank

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The city of Marthasville and a company building a new 300,000-gallon water tank are in dispute over $31,000 in charges for extra foundation work to prepare for construction of the massive structure.

The tank construction is part of the city’s project to install a new well system northeast of town, which will serve the entire community with room to grow for a number of years.

The disagreement is over a significant amount of extra digging and concrete pouring that needed to be done for the tank, according to a project update during the city’s Sept. 21 board of aldermen meeting. Tank construction is being done by Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group for $575,000.

Project manager David Van Leer with Cochran Engineering said the Pittsburg crew found large sections of loose rock in what was supposed to be a solid layer of bedrock for the foundation of the water tank. Workers needed to excavate the loose areas several feet deep, then back fill them with solid concrete.

“The work that was done was what needed to be done,” Van Leer said. However, he advised that Pittsburg’s request for a $31,000 adjustment to their bill is excessive — and that’s after Cochran talked the company down from $50,000.

“We’ve gone through and, to the best of our ability, tried to quantify everything they’ve done from a time standpoint and a (material) quantity standpoint. We believe it’s more on the order of $21,000,” Van Leer said.

Mayor David Lange, after reviewing an itemized bill from Pittsburg Tank, said he was frustrated to see charges that appeared to be double billed from the original project contract. Several charges were for mobilizing equipment and crew that were already on site, and for work that was already going to get done regardless of the extra concrete pouring, Lange said.

“They’re supposed to just be charging us for the additional material. ... They’re already being paid $575,000!” Lange stated. “I’m not against paying them for the extra work. ... I just think they’re kind of taking advantage of us.”

Van Leer agreed that the tank company appears to be trying to “nickel and dime” the city with “petty” charges. He said the only solution is to sit down and negotiate with the company, because charges and pricing for this extra work weren’t built into the original contract.

“What we’re trying to get to is what was truly extra work that they wouldn’t have included in their original bid,” Van Leer said. “It’s just a matter of getting this to a price that’s fair.”

He added that Pittsburg Tank is also requesting the city to extend the deadline for the tank construction by two weeks. The penalty fees associated with that deadline could give the city some leverage to negotiate, Van Leer said.

The question of the extra cost hasn’t stopped the work from proceeding. Van Leer said the current completion date for the well and tank is estimated in late October or early November.

Marthasville, Water, Construction

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