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Date of Issue: July 09, 2008

Contractor reconsiders Anna Maria stormwater project

After Anna Maria was forced to delay the projected start of Phase 1 of its stormwater drainage project because it never received the required Southwest Florida Water Management District permit, Adkins Contracting Inc. - the successful project bidder - wrote Anna Maria city engineer Tom Wilcox a letter demanding the company be paid $235,000 of the $539,000 contract it had signed with the city for the project.

The city responded in kind that the Adkins claim was “absurd.”

Cooler heads, however, have apparently prevailed and Adkins - faced with a signed contract, a denial of its claim by Wilcox and Mayor Fran Barford, and some legal advice - is reconsidering the contract and project. Now that Swiftmud has issued a permit for the project - Phase 1 of the city’s master stormwater drainage plan - the start date has been pushed back to December.

Evidently, some work in a bad economy is better than no work in a bad economy and trying to sue the city in court for damages.

Adkins wrote Wilcox on June 23 that the company was “reviewing the newly revised plans” and asked for a new construction schedule.

The company said it now needs to contact its sub-contractors and suppliers to determine if they will honor their original quotes. Adkins said it would reply to the city by July 3.

In other drainage project news, Swiftmud sent a notice that it would meet with Wilcox and other city officials at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 17, to discuss “conceptual level plans for Phase 2” of the city’s overall stormwater plan.

Phase A of the plan has already been completed, but difficulties have been found with the filters installed.

In Phase 1, Swiftmud rejected the original design and asked for models of what the stormwater runoff would look like before any new drainage construction. The city eventually agreed to a Swiftmud suggestion to eliminate the ditch blocks and some pipes in certain locations and get rid of the project’s vortex separator.

With a scaled-down design, Wilcox has estimated Phase 1 will cost about $120,000 less than the $539,000 in the Adkins contract. But there are also engineering inspection fees to add, Wilcox has previously noted.

HDR Engineering Inc. and Wilcox have already waived an estimated $30,000 in fees and costs associated with the project.

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