The Monticello City Council in a special meeting Wednesday night will consider recommendations regarding the city’s economic development services contract and mediation with Siemens, Industry, Inc. in a $10 million water project.
The council will consider a motion authorizing Monticello attorney Cliff Gibson to enter into legal mediation with Siemens Industry, Inc. to terminate the water services contract.
The city in October hired Gibson to determine whether the city’s $10 million contract with Siemens complies with applicable law and, if so, is the company fulfilling its obligations under the contract.
Gibson made a number of recommendations, including a State Police investigation of the entire matter, mediation in an effort to terminate the contract and recover “the unearned portion of the $7 million already paid by the city to Siemens as well as damages suffered by the city”, and if Siemens refuses mediation or the mediation fails to resolve the dispute, he recommended that the city sue Siemens for fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract.
Siemens agreed to mediation.
In one of his last actions as mayor of Monticello, Joe Rogers, whose term ended on December 31, called for a State Police investigation of issues surrounding the $10 million project.
After the council addresses the water project, it will adjourn, then immediately reconvene to consider a motion to extend until February 28, the city’s 2014 economic development services contract with the Monticello Economic Development Commission. It will also consider a resolution to reject two previously submitted bids for the 2015 economic development services and change the manner in which the contract is awarded.
Historically, the city has advertised for bids for those services and the Monticello Economic Development Commission, the only bidder, was awarded the contract. However, the city received two bids for the 2015 services, one from the Monticello Economic Development Commission for $280,617 and one from P.F. Mays & Associates, LLC, of Monticello for $264,000.
The city council voted to award the contract to the Monticello Economic Development Commission, apparently believing it could choose the higher bid if it considered it to be a better bid, as is permissible for professional services.
City attorney Whit Barton told the council it has “leeway for professional services.”
However, Patricia Mays questioned the city attorney’s advice to the council. “This is not professional services,” Mays said. “This is competitive sealed bids, it’s a different division of the statutes.”
The council will now consider a resolution to reject both bids and declaring economic development services “professional services,” under state law.