City awards $24,227 from 1996 expired contract

Three and a half years after the contract was terminated, Williams City Council has awarded Benny Aja an additional $24,227 toward expenses he claims to have entailed cleaning out Santa Fe Reservoir.

After the project was about half complete and had cost the city $237,094, it was determined sediment was too wet to complete the job. The following spring, run-off filled the reservoir putting additional dredging on hold.

On Oct. 11, 1996, the city contracted Aja, doing business as Sure-Hit Enterprises of Williams, to remove dirt and silt below Santa Fe Dam. The contract, which was terminated Nov. 27, 1996, clearly states Aja was liable for sales tax and should submit invoices to the city on a weekly basis. It also stipulates the contractor is obligated to accept the final payment at the termination of the contract.

However, at last Thursday’s meeting, city council, voted to give Aja an additional $1,710 to cover equipment rental from Falcon Power of Flagstaff, $3,920 for equipment rented from L.P.’s Excavating of Williams, $9,765 for fuel from Filo’s Auto House of Williams and $8,832 for sales tax.

As pointed out in an April 10 memorandum from Joe Duffy, assistant city manager and finance director, the contract spells out: ‘“acceptance of the final payment by the contractor ... shall constitute a waiver of claims by that payee except those previously made in writing and identified by that payee as unsettled at the time of final application of payment.’ No pending claims were identified by Sure-Hit Enterprises at the time final payment was made.”

By Nov. 26, 1996, Sure-Hit was paid a total of $169,821 for its share in the dam-cleaning project.

Duffy’s memo points out the outstanding bills, submitted to the city by Sure-Hit on April 3, were to be the topic of discussion at an April 13 city council executive session.

After Thursday’s meeting, Bernie Hiemenz, city councilmember, explained why he cast the sole no vote on the matter.

“The contract was fair for both the contractor and the city when drawn up three and half years ago,” Hiemenz said. “It’s not fair to our taxpayers for a contractor to come back after that much time has passed, make a claim the city owes him more money and get it.”

City councilmember Joyce Sullivant was absent from the meeting.

Other action

Also at the meeting city council approved:

• A one-time fee of $75 for county residents who want to use the automated water metering system approved for the Williams Rodeo Grounds. City council approved the new system on April 13 that will utilize prepaid rechargeable plastic credit cards. Water haulers within Williams city limits will be issued one card per household at no charge.

Duffy said installation of the system on one side of the standpipe should be completed in about 15 days.

• A bid from Empire Power Systems of Phoenix amounting to $12,904 per month for rental of 750-kilowatt generator and $729 per month for rental of a 1,200-gallon fuel tank for Dogtown Well. This bid does not include fuel, and servicing, which is required every 250 hours of use, or the power cable needed to connect the generator to the pump drive unit already on site.

Should the city decide to purchase the generator and fuel tank, the rental fees entailed in up to six month’s use would be applied to the purchase price of $192,780 for the generator and $14,408 for the fuel tank.

• A liquor license for Chuck Coleman, who has opened the Pizza Factory at 214 W. Route 66.

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