The future of a large scale, million-dollar infrastructure project on Dyersville’s southeast side is currently uncertain after city staff alerted the council that construction hasn’t begun and the contractor is unresponsive.
Dubbed the Southeast Water Booster Pumping Facility project, the goal was to provide better water service by adding a booster station and additional water main pipe that would promote growth and increase fire protection capabilities in the area.
But recently, City Administrator Mick Michel told the council that contractor Boomerang Corp, of Anamosa, has not shown up or answered any correspondence, prompting the city to consult with its attorney.
“Despite trying to communicate with the contractor, the contractor has basically shut the doors on the city and is ignoring the city’s request for a work schedule along with a request for a meeting to resolve any outstanding matters,” Michel said. “We can’t stay status quo right now — we have to move this project forward.”
The council approved Boomerang’s bid for the two-fold project back in January — which broke down to $942,050 for the pumping facility and $161,150 for the water main work.
The pipe portion of the contract, which was actually due in April, was delayed due to DNR regulations and as a result, Michel said the city agreed to push that completion date back. However, Michel said the contractor hasn’t responded to that concession yet either, and the pipe material has been sitting at the construction site untouched since at least June 15.
“We actually made a recommendation to move that timeline to the end of the project because it really didn’t matter if that water main was in or not as long as the booster station was live by the end of August,” Michel explained.
And with the pumping station contracted to be complete by Aug. 31, Michel said things aren’t looking promising.
“I think right now it would be difficult to get completed by the end of August,” Michel added.
According to the city’s attorneys, the contractor technically isn’t in breach of contract yet, as they have yet to reach the agreed-upon Aug. 31 deadline.
But Michel said they have made the contractor aware that they are not extending the deadline.
Michel said notice has also been sent to the bonding company, who is likely to light a fire under the contractor.
Mayor Jim Heavens wanted to know what would happen if the contractor hypothetically abandoned the project altogether.
“The bonding company would step in and be the general contractor at that point,” Michel said. “The bonding company would actually have to hire a consultant or contractor to come in and finish up the work.”
Michel said now that the bonding company has been put on notice, he expects they will hear from the contractor soon.
“In the end, the contractor is on the hook to complete the project — he agreed to do it, he agreed to the terms and he has a bond in place,” Michel said.
Boomerang’s two contracts also contain a liquidation clause, which means it would be continually fined until the project is complete if they don’t make the deadline.
“Every day the contractor is not performing, he will be assessed $750 per day, per contract, until that contract meets the substantial completion requirements,” Michel said.
Engineering firm IIW has also been attempting to schedule a meeting with Boomerang to discuss the contract, but Michel said those attempts have not been successful.
“We understand that they are having some employee issues, but for us, we have a contract and we want to stay on target with that contract so we can meet the development and water needs in that area,” Michel said. “So we are pushing very diligently to keep things moving forward and we hope this matter will be resolved in a short period of time.”
Michel told the council he will provide an update to the council once he has new information, which he predicts will be in the next couple of weeks.