ANDREWS - Twelve and a half million dollars basically went down the drain in the City of Andrews, after their new truck reliever route got shut down early in June.
At Thursday's City Council meeting, officials met behind closed doors to find a fix. There were talks of lawsuits but city leaders decided not to go that route. Instead they notified the construction company about their shoddy work and are trusting them to fund the repairs. Of course the binding contract offers some reassurance too.
A third party engineer had been hired to assess the damages that led to the forced closure of loop 1910. An associate with the firm presented those findings and also clarified contractual specifications on the project.
"We noticed that the asphalt failed to adhere to the base course and that shows poor workmanship," he said.
They found that there was extensive damage throughout the 17-mile truck reliever route, most notably bleeding asphalt. Officials claim the triple digit heat melted the surface of the road and caused tracking of the tar onto semis tires. They believe 10-15 percent of the road is unusable.
But according to a bid specification on the project, "poor workmanship or materials incorporated in the project and all construction shall be guaranteed against defective materials and workmanship."
Basically, the contract made it so the company responsible, including its subcontractors, have to fund repairs if issues popped up within a year of the agreement, which was signed in January.
"So if there's any good news in this, it would be that we're dealing with the surface. But it's still going to be an expensive fix," Andrews City Manager Glen Hackler said.
But officials want to reassure citizens that it won't be on their dime.
"We're gonna set a minimum level. We're not gonna allow just a haphazard performance to correct the route," he said.
And if DelHur Industries flakes on their agreement, there's also a bond insurance in place that will kick in to further protect residents. Still. Leaders say they'll step in if needed.
"If we have to go into litigation, we'll do just that. We're going to protect our interests and the interests of the taxpayer," Mayor Flora Braly said.
Also in the meeting resident Ashby Bridges contested a city ordinance offering reduced personal water rates for elected officials.
"I don't like it when any elected official passes a law that they have special treatment in and they vote themselves a privilege or vote themselves an expanded privilege, so I can't stand by and be inactive about it," he said.
Bridges had lost in the most recent city council election. A few weeks after is when he discovered the disparity in the water bills and wanted to bring it to light, stating that he would have used it in his platform if he had known and that it would have likely gotten him a seat.
He argued that officials get a 50 percent reduction in their bill and felt that regardless of whether it was a little or lot of money, the principle is what he's fighting for. He even suggested that elected officials receive some other benefit or incentive as replacement- like a gift card.
But Hackler said not all of the facts were straight. "We're really talking about a 10-15 percent discount that people in that category are given. If the council wants to adjust that or do something about it then I'm sure they'll give us direction during the budget to do so," he said.
That would be sometime in the next 30-90 days.