The Smithville aldermen Monday night reluctantly voted to pay the Langley and Taylor Pool Corporation of Nashville the remaining $13,649 the city owes for repairs made to the city swimming pool over the summer.
City officials have been withholding final payment claiming Langley and Taylor has failed to respond to city demands to fix problems with the pool regarding drains and lights since they finished their work replacing the fiberglass coating of the pool with ceramic tile. Last February, the aldermen awarded a bid to Langley and Taylor in the amount of $83,649 to do the job.
During Monday night's city council meeting, city attorney Vester Parsley said the city should make that final payment to Langley and Taylor or risk a lawsuit in which the city might be forced to pay for the work anyway, plus the company's attorneys fees.
Parsley said he believes the company has met it's obligations under the contract and can't be held accountable to fix problems with the pool that may have been pre-existing. However, he pointed out that there is a three year warranty and the company could be held responsible for work called for under the contract which was warrantied but not done properly. "On September 6th I received a correspondence from their attorney asking about why we hadn't paid. I wrote a letter about the things that needed repair and explained to him that we wouldn't be paying anything until those repairs were done. I got an email last Thursday from the attorney for Langley and Taylor asking what the city intended to do. He wrote that the company had someone come up and do those repairs. I called Hunter (Hendrixson) and he said that he (Hunter) and Kevin (Robinson) had been over there (pool) and everything looked okay. There were cracks in some tile. We do have a three year warranty that says they will warranty their work for that period of time. Based upon what Hunter said and the communication I had with the attorney for Langley and Taylor, I would recommend that the board go ahead and pay that balance. I think they are in compliance with their contract. There might have been some things that slipped by us but if they're not in the contract then we can't hold them to it. My recommendation would be to go ahead and pay them. They do have a provision in there (contract) that if they have to seek collection they could collect their attorneys fees," said Parsley.
Alderman Steve White said he is not pleased with this company and their apparent unwillingness to fix problems that persist with the pool which they may have caused while doing other repairs. The pool apparently has been continually overflowing the gutters on the deep end since the new tile has been put down and the lights in the pool have not worked properly since they were removed during the renovation and later re-installed after completion of the project. "I was actually over there when they were shooting the grade on the drain. I asked him how it was. He told me that it was an eighth of an inch off which is about as perfect as you can get for an area that big. But after we filled the pool back up, its off by like an inch and a half on that one corner which would consist of pulling the tile back off and taking a layer of mud concrete and building up that one corner and then laying the tile back down. They took out what was there and now what they put back isn't working properly. This has never been an issue before. With the actual drain covers, they pulled them off and when they put them back they didn't put all the screws in them or in some cases they put screws in them and broke the screws off and left the broken off screws," said White.
Tony Poss, golf course tenant and pool operator, said the pool lights have not been working properly since Langley and Taylor finished their work. "All the electrical lights that go in the sides of the pool have all quit working. The pool company did pull the lights out and installed them back. I've been told they're supposed to have a sealed beam in there to keep the lights on so they will work. They're shorting out a GFI box and that's kicking them breakers off. I just want them or whoever to fix it," said Poss.
Acting on the advice of the city attorney, Alderman Danny Washer made a motion to make that final payment to Langley and Taylor to avoid a possible lawsuit. Aldermen White and Shawn Jacobs also voted to pay for the same reason but said they felt the company had not fulfilled its obligations to the city. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix and Cecil Burger were absent Monday night.
Meanwhile, Alderman White asked that cost estimates be obtained for making the pool handicapped accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The city must comply with ADA requirements at the pool by next spring. The options are to purchase portable chairlifts or going to the zero entry concept, which would require removing the kiddie pool and constructing a zero grade ramp which gradually slopes into the pool.
Alderman White also asked for cost estimates to install more restroom facilities at the swimming pool to accommodate the larger crowds that are now coming to the pool during the summer.
Alderman White further made a motion, which was approved, to keep the pool filled and circulating year round to possibly keep algae from forming and leaves from gathering and staining the sides of the pool. Mayor Taft Hendrixson favors keeping the pool filled but questions the need for continual circulation and the higher electric costs which the city will have to bear.
In other business, the aldermen approved on second and final reading an ordinance amendment to the city code to give full time employees three new paid holidays including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the day after Thanksgiving, and the Friday of the Fiddlers Jamboree. The action followed a public hearing. There was no opposition.
Kevin Robinson, public works director, in his monthly update to the board reported that "we went over to the golf course on Friday and worked on the irrigation and got it winterized. We also got our sixteen inch water main fixed. Its back in service. We found a mini track hoe over in Cookeville. The guy there let us use it for a day. He was wanting $15,500 for it and I talked him down to $14,500. It's a good machine, I haven't seen one like it. It's a Kubota. I just wonder what you want to do about purchasing it. Its got 1950 hours on it," said Robinson.
The city has budgeted funds to make the purchase
Todd Bowman, water plant operator, gave a report on water loss for the month. "We had 49.7 million gallons of water that left the plant in October. We used 396,000 for backwash and 300,000 for re-wash. We metered 380,000 at the plant. The DeKalb Fire Department used 500 gallons which left the total amount of finished water leaving the plant at 49.2 million gallons. We sold 37.5 million gallons which left a total unaccounted for at 10.6 million which comes up to a 22% loss which is still a rather good loss. The floor people are supposed to be at (the water plant) December 19. W&O or whoever has hired some different people to come in to re-do the floor. These people have said they can get the floor right and make it look like we want it to look," he said.
Police Chief Randy Caplinger reported that "we had a real good result with our grand jury sealed indictments. I want to give credit to these officers. They've been out working and I appreciate their efforts and ask them to continue doing what they're doing. They seem to be motivated to do it. We had a prisoner who recently got out of her handcuffs and got away. We picked her up within just a few minutes. So we do now have a new holding cell for anyone (prisoner) who comes in. Its been approved and you're welcome to come and look at it," said Chief Caplinger.
Fire Chief Charlie Parker reported that "we had a total of six fire calls for November, two motor vehicle accidents, and three alarm calls. We had both engines pump tested last week so both of them did pass the annual pump test. We've got a little work to do with them catching things back up but they did at least pass the tests. Our old air compressor that we use for filling out SCBA breathing air packs. Since we got a new one this year, we pulled our old one out of service. I've had another fire department contact me about trying to purchase that. Its not a lot of money, probably somewhere around one thousand dollars for that. I'd talked to Hunter (Hendrixson) about getting some independent group to give us some kind of appraisal on what they thought it would be worth to see if we could sell it to this other department so they could get a little bit of use out of it," said Chief Parker.
Airport manager Wesley Nokes reported that "we recently talked about our upcoming runway overlay project. That's going to be approximately a two million dollar project. We put in a grant for it. I went to TDOT the other day to present the grant application but TDOT has capped funding right now for everybody. Nobody got awarded their full amount. TDOT made a recommendation that we just do the engineering aspect of this project first. The asphalt has to be engineered for weight tolerances. We have one spot that's never had any asphalt on it whatsoever. It'll take more engineering work as far as that goes. The grant is going to be $150,000. We were awarded that the other day. It's a 90/10% matching grant. This grant just pays the engineers and consultants. They have to survey and do all that stuff. (The city's matching grant portion is $15,000).