Kimball seeking changes in contract

Kimball seeking changes in contract

December 17th, 2012 by Ryan Lewis in Local Regional News

Kimball City Attorney and Marion County Attorney Billy Gouger

Photo by Ryan Lewis

KIMBALL, Tenn. - When city administrators got a look at a grant-required engineering contract for an upcoming sewer line project, they found a lot of things in it they didn't like.

Mayor David Jackson said a draft of the contract was received recently from James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, and neither City Attorney Billy Gouger nor the Tennessee Municipal League, Kimball's insurance provider, liked the language in it.

Gouger said he had serious concerns about the "form contract" that about five different engineering associations and societies put together several years ago.

The sewer project involves a line extension to the site of the new technical school in Kimball. It would run from Industrial Boulevard under Interstate 24 and to the Holland farm property along U.S. Highway 41.

One major problem with the initial contract included putting insurance burdens on the town that the municipal league "simply won't allow," Gouger said.

He said Kimball would have to go out and buy some secondary insurance, which would be "expensive and unnecessary."

"It might even get [the city] in some problems with its TML coverage," Gouger said.

The contract also had a liability-shifting provision that put all the liability for the engineering work on the city instead of the engineer and limited the city's ability to seek damages against the engineering firm to the contract price.

"Even if your sewer line must be completely replaced [because of an engineering mistake], and it's going to cost $600,000, the most you could get from the engineers is the $45,000 contract price," Gouger said. "I would never recommend that [the board] agree to that."

Jackson said the contract problems need to be settled quickly so the project can move forward.

"We don't need to wait until January to do this," he said.

Gouger recently presented the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen a revised contract that he said would protect the town from the issues he found.

The board will hold a special called meeting Tuesday so its members can review the revised contract and make any changes they feel are necessary before approving it.

"The key to this [modified contract] is it holds the engineering firm liable and responsible if they make a mistake, and it does not put an insurance burden on the town," Gouger said. "I think it provides adequate legal coverage for the town."