“Golden Excavating has made a demand on the City for payment in the amount $49,965 for work performed by Golden Excavating on Veterans Parkway located in the City,” states the complaint for declaratory judgment filed by City Attorney John Rea. “The City disputes that it is responsible for the claim of Golden Excavating and further disputes that the City is indebted to such company.”
In the complaint for declaratory judgment filed Friday in the St. Clair County Court, Southern Division, the city also disputes it owes payment for materials used for part of the construction of Veterans Parkway.
“Goodgame Company has made a demand on the City for payment in the amount of $11,802.51 for certain materials used in the construction of Veterans Parkway, which materials were provided by Hanson Pipe Company and paid for by Goodgame Company,” the complaint for declaratory judgment states. “The City disputes that it is responsible for the claim of Goodgame Company and further disputes that the City is indebted to such company.”
Last month, the city council voted to return an $85,000 grant and seek a court ruling about its responsibility to pay for materials and work done on Veterans Parkway.
“The City furthers prays that, upon a final hearing of this matter, this Honorable Court will render a declaratory judgment or decree stating whether the City of Pell City is indebted to either Defendant for the work performed or materials furnished as set forth in the claims which are the subject of this controversy,” the complaint for declaratory judgment states.
It was only about a year ago when questions surfaced about the $85,000 state grant from the County and Municipal Capital Improvement Trust Fund and the invoice that accompanied the grant request.
The grant was to be used for improved access to the Icademy on the Jefferson State Community College campus in Pell City.
The invoice that accompanied the grant request was from one vendor, Goodgame Company Inc., but another vendor, Golden Excavating Company Inc., actually performed the work.
On Feb. 28, 2011, the council approved a motion to pay Golden Excavating Co. $48,000 for excavating work on Veterans Parkway, $11,000 to Hanson Pipe for drainage pipes and $6,000 to McCartney Construction for rock and gravel.
In April 2011, the council rescinded its vote, and the $85,000 grant was never used and vendors were never paid for work completed and materials provided.
At the time the council rescinded its vote, questions surfaced as to whether the city had possibly violated the state bid law, which mandates projects costing more than $50,000 be bid out.
“No public work as defined in this chapter involving a sum in excess of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) shall be split into parts involving sums of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or less for the purpose of evading the requirements of this section,” states the Code of Alabama, Section 39-2-2.
Mayor Bill Hereford told the city council during the Feb. 28, 2011, council meeting that it was just as easy to pay the bills and stay below the $50,000 and get every penny on the project.
“What we did…was to make sure we segregated these sums of money from one another so they do not rise above the level of being bid, and what it amounts to as far as the project is concerned over there is that everything will continue to move along,” he said.
Last year, James Lloyd Golden, owner of Golden Excavating Co., told The Daily Home he provided a $75,000 estimate to the city for work on Veterans Parkway.
Hereford told The Daily Home in April 2011 he never saw the invoice or estimate from Golden Excavating Co.
Golden said he gave the invoice to St. Clair County engineer Dan Dahlke, who designed the road.
Dahlke told The Daily Home he believes the invoice was hand-delivered to City Hall.
Golden later billed the city $49,965 for the work, which is under the threshold for bidding a project out. At the time, Golden told The Daily Home he would absorb the loss.
Although the council voted to return the $85,000 grant, a resolution was approved to reapply for the grant money, so the city can use the money as matching funds for a federal grant it was awarded last year.
The $475,000 federal grant awarded to the city was for the paving of Veterans Parkway. The city is required to provide a $111,150 match.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.