AP NEWS

Katy officials table contractor payment

March 29, 2019

A contractor who worked on a storm sewer extension project in Katy Hockley Estates will have to wait a little longer for payment of a change order.

Katy City Council in a 5-0 vote on March 25 approved tabling payment of the $46,583.58 change order for reconciling all bid items with G.W. Phillips Concrete Construction Co. for the Brant Drive storm sewer extension.

Councilman at large Chris Harris said he talked with two neighbors, both of whom are unhappy with the state of the project.

“Some neighbors said it looks incomplete,” Harris added.

Ward A Councilman Frank Carroll said the project needs to be done right. Referring to problems associated with the project, he said additional assurances are needed that the work will be done correctly.

In a Tuesday interview, Harris said he had talked with several residents who have property adjacent to the improvements. Their concerns included left over equipment from the contractor remaining on their property, dirtwork not replaced as promised and cable and electrical lines not returned to their status prior to the project beginning.

On Facebook, Katy resident Sandra Farris wrote, in part, “Hope the City will carefully review the poor workmanship and additional costs on the Brant St drainage project. It was at least seven months over scheduled time line. Why didn’t the Engineer know about the pipelines since he did the survey? Contractor was awful and of course had costs overage when he is allowed to drag the project long over schedule. Who is responsible for vetting and supervising the Contractor?”

Before paying the remainder of the balance, council needs to made sure everything is done and cleared with city staff, Harris said. “This project has gone on longer than intended.”

City Engineer David Leyendecker said work started in July 2017.

George W. Phillips, III, owner G W Phillips Construction Co., couldn’t be reached for comment.

In his March 21 letter to Byron Hebert, city administrator, Leyendecker wrote, “The Brant Drive Storm Sewer Extension project is complete and ready for acceptance.” He told council, “They removed all the equipment about two weeks ago.”

The subdivision is accessed off Katy Hockley Road which was closed last week to all but local residents. The city started on March 18 a drainage restoration project to enhance the drainage for Katy Hockley Road between Morton and Clay roads.

Leyendecker told City Council that the project has a contingency of between $10,000 and $11,000, but several council members thought that tabling payment at the Monday meeting might be a greater incentive to ensure the project has been completed properly.

Leyendecker said all the items involved in the change order are legitimate. “We worked through various items,” he said, and added that “all are complete.”

Because of rainy conditions, the company had to work off laminated mats to expedite the project, he explained in response to a question from Carroll about an item in the change order. He added that cable companies also worked on the site and the city has no control over those companies.

Mayor Chuck Brawner said the property should be returned to its original condition and said he planned to go over and take a look at the site.

Leyendecker’s letter said that the original contract bid amount was $223,950 plus 10 percent contingency. The final contract amount is $292,928.58, he wrote.

In other business, council approved two ordinances. Council appointed Katy Heerssen and Kesley Moebes as regular members of the Keep Katy Beautiful board. Sharon Rhoads was named an emeritus member. Adam Rice and Frank Mannion Jr. were named regular members of the Joint Airport Safety Board.

Council also approved three resolutions.

The mayor received authorization to sign a third amendment to an agreement by and between the city, Reinvestment Zone No. 1 and the Katy Development Authority relative to funding, the TIRZ’s expiration on Dec. 31, 2038 and annexation.

He also was authorized to sign Amendment 5 to the service agreement with Consolidated Communications regarding increasing Internet speed for municipal courts at an additional monthly cost of $600 to upgrade from 100 MB to 300 MB.

In the third resolution, the city accepted a $378,328 grant from the Texas Office of the Governor’s First Responder Mental Health Resiliency Program for the fire department. Ward A Councilwoman Janet Corte asked if the grant could be extended to the police department. Fire Chief Russell Wilson said a new grant would be needed to include the police department.

According to the agenda packet, “The grant allows funding for a program to be instituted within the Katy Fire Department for dealing with cumulative stress as a result of, life and death situations routinely encountered by first responders. The grant does not obligate the City of Katy to fund any part of the program. Instead, all matching funds will be covered by in-kind contributions of service by Valentia Bilingual Therapy Services, PLLC.”

karen.zurawski@chron.com