JASPER, Tenn. — When contractors are chosen for municipal projects, there are often completion deadlines that must be met or financial penalties are imposed.
The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously recently to reject a request for more time from Angel Construction in Pikeville, Tenn., on a recently completed project, even after the city's engineer recommended a partial extension.
Angel Construction was tasked with installing two pump stations. One was part of a sewer line extension project to an area known as Shellmound Business Park, and the other was a water booster station in Haletown, Tenn.
Gary Cosby, an engineer with CTI Engineers Inc., said the contractor missed the sewage station completion deadline by 12 days, and the water booster station was overdue 10 days.
Roy Joel Angel, owner of Angel Construction, submitted a 30-day extension request for each project, officials said.
"Both of [the projects] had completion times on them," Cosby said. "Both of them carried liquidated damages for failure to comply with that."
Those "liquidated damages" total $22,000, he said.
After CTI evaluated Angel's request, Cosby recommended an extension of six days.
"It was a wet period," he said. "It was wetter than normal. He had roughly a three-month window to do the work, so that's the period we looked at. There were five additional days of rain during that period than what you would normally expect."
Another contractor created further delays for Angel because of some "tie-in" mistakes made at the Shellmound pump station, and Cosby agreed there should be an additional day added for that, too.
"We couldn't find any reason [for time extension] on the water booster station," he said. "He didn't actually start the work on the station until about two weeks before the deadline, which doesn't leave much time to get one put in."
Angel said it's impossible for a contractor to go to work if he doesn't have the materials for the project.
Pump station materials have a "long lead time," he said, and a contractor doesn't always get the materials from a manufacturer when they are promised.
"When they get it to you is when you can have it," Angel said. "I thought we proceeded as rapidly as we could."
Alderman Steve Looney told Angel that he knew he'd have to get the proper materials for the project when he bid on it.
"If you don't abide by the performance dates, there are penalties," he said to Angel directly. "Stiff penalties. Did you have another job? What were you doing? Sitting at home watching TV or something?"
"We can't go out there and dig a 15-foot hole and leave it open," Angel said. "We did our best, but you've got to get the material before you can go to work."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.