The Issue: Pipeline Connection to Canton Water System
Construction Project Not Bid
Pipeline Legislation    Pipeline Not Bid    Pipeline Incomplete
bullet Background Information & Outcome
bullet My Position & Rationale
bullet Research, Documentation & Press Coverage

Background Information & Outcome

The Legislation: The legislation was discussed in the Water, Sewer & Rubbish Committee and referred out of committee for legislation on March 18, 2002.

Ordinance No. 41-02 authorizing the Mayor of the City of North Canton, through the Board of Control, to enter into an amended agreement (change order) in order to revise the location of the waterline from price Park/East Maple route (authorized by Ordinance No. 43-01) to the Everhard/Water Plant route.

The Outcome: The legislation was read at three open council meetings (March 25, 2002, April 1, 2002 and April 8, 2002). The legislation required at least four votes for passage and received the needed votes for all three readings. This was reported in a Repository article dated April 9, 2002.

All members present voted as follows:

Yes: Foltz, Lindower, McLaughlin, Magel, Kiesling and Snyder. Abstained: Osborne
No: 0

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My Position & Rationale

My Position: The City of North Canton should have bid the pipeline contract. Furthermore, the increase in funding added to the construction project does not qualify as a change order.

The City of North Canton failed to advertise for bids for this pipeline construction project as required by the North Canton City Charter, Section 4.05: Contracts and Purchasing. This is also spelled out in Ohio State Law and is common practice.

bullet City Council used an exception in the city charter that allows council to enter into contracts without advertising for bids in an emergency if there is an affirmative vote of at least six (6) members.

bullet The only emergency in this case was that the city administration waited too late in the year to allow for the bidding process to take place. The administration was in a rush to get the pipeline completed by mid-summer. There was a concern that North Canton might experience a dry summer. North Canton had experienced occasional summer dry spells for many years and had never issued any mandatory restrictions on water usage.

As a consequence of not bidding the pipeline construction project, the City of North classified the additional costs to complete the pipeline project as a “change order”.

bullet A change order authorizes additional cost to a contractor for additional work (ORC 153.62). As described in ORC 5525.14, ..”the additional cost incurred by the increase shall not exceed the lesser of one hundred thousand dollars or five per cent of the total contract price. Any such provision for increased quantities or extra work shall be made in the form of a written change to the original contract and does not require competitive bidding”.
bullet The “change order” for the pipeline project was $397,904.76. The original pipeline contract that was awarded a year earlier and halted to due unforeseen circumstances was in the amount of $1,154,923. The “change order” is thirty-four per cent of the original construction bid. Because the “change order” is greater than $100,000 and is more than five per cent of the original contract, I question the validity of the “change order”.
bullet As a result of this research, I contacted an attorney and he concurred with my observations. Consequently, he wrote a letter on my behalf as a taxpayer regarding the protection of public funds.

As of July, 2003, my attorney has not taken with any further action on this issue.

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Research, Documentation & Press Coverage

bullet Repository article dated April 9, 2002
bullet North Canton City Charter, Section 4.05
bullet Change order
bullet Letter on my behalf as taxpayer

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