Contract company asks Marion to forgive $9,000 in liquidated damages

The Marion City Council received a request from Tri­nium Inc., the contract com­pany for the East Park pro­ject, asking that $9,000 in liquidated damages be forgiven at the Jan. 16 meeting.

City Administrator Roger Holter said Trinium officials failed to sign their final two pay estimates, which would allow the city to close out the project.

“We are up against a state deadline of Jan. 31 for funds from the state, and we need to get this project closed out,” he said.

Trinium’s vice-president, Jarrod Willich, said he wasn’t aware of any problems until he looked into their open files at the end of the year.

In addition, Willich said the problem was caused by the subcontractors who pulled off the job.

“(Trinium’s) premise in asking forgiveness on the liquidated damages was because they said they didn’t receive proper notification from (grant administrator Rose Mary Saunders) Ranson Financial,” Holter said.

After talking with the Kansas Department of Commerce, the city’s legal counsel, EBH Engineering and Ranson, Holter explained, Trinium officials signed the final two pay estimates so the project could move forward.

Land discussion

Holter said in August of 2015 as part of the abandoned railroad right-of-way, the city finalized a transaction with Builders Concrete for its expansion project.

“It came to light at that time that Pat Carr was farming the property adjacent to what the city sold to Build­ers Concrete (on Commercial Street),” he said.

“Carr was under the assumption he had an agricultural lease with the railroad, and he’s been farming the land all this time, believing the railroad still owned the property,”

In 2015, the city offered to sell this land to Carr, he said, and a former city employee had told him the survey he is associated with was between $100-$300.

“I haven’t found any written documentation to support that,” Holter said. “The actual survey came in at $3,015 to be split between the parcels.”

Following a discussion with Susan Robson, city attorney, Holter said the council took action with both purchasers paying $750 plus filing.

KMIT negotiations

Holter said the Kansas Municipal Insurance Trust or KMIT Worker’s Compensation Insurance had gone up considerably.

But in negotiations, he said, KMIT was willing to let the city do a “split modification of incident,” based on the frequency and severity of worker’s compensation claims over history.

“Our whole increase was anchored to an accident that happened in spring 2014,” he said, “and we are rated on a three-year history.”

It was agreed for the first quarter, January through April 1, the city would pay on the modification indicator, Holter said.

With the new agreement coming out April 1, KMIT representatives said they would allow the city to use the new indicator for the remainder of the year, which lowers the bill by $4,500 for year 2017.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• approved waiving GAAP, which is the general­ly approved accounting practice by the federal gov­ern­­­ment. Instead the council approved using KMAG or the Kansas Municipal Audit Guide for counties and cities.

• approved the appointments recommended by Mayor Todd Heit­schmidt to include Dorothy Youk, housing authority for a four-year term, and Debbie Steele, filling a one-year unexpired term, on the museum board.

• talked about Local Government Day, hosted by the Kansas Association of Counties on Jan. 25. Attending were county commissioner Dianne Novak, Mayor Todd Heitschmidt, Marion council members Melissa Mermis and Chris Costello, Holter and Hillsboro Mayor Delores Dalke and Larry Paine, Hillsboro city administrator.

“Our county will have one of the largest representations at this event,” Holder said. “Our county is working more as an entire community and making our presence known even at the state capitol as an entire united community.”