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Flint, MI–The Flint City Council voted Monday to approve an additional $2 million in grant funding to a contract with Goyette Mechanical to continue restoring lawns and sidewalks of homes with service line replacements.
The funding will come from a Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) grant.
On July 22, 2019, the council authorized a purchase order of $6,897,389.50 for Goyette to carry out Phase V and VI of the project. Director of Public Works Rob Bincsik said that Goyette has just about exhausted their funds and still has 5,796 addresses to complete work on.
The initial purchase order amount was based on an estimate, Bincsik said.
“We figured a certain amount of restoration for each address,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’re doing more restoration per address than what was estimated.”
He said the $2 million is needed in order to keep the project moving, and more specifically to give restoration services to Zone 4, which was not awarded last year.
Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter asked what area Zone 4 was, but Bincsik said it was “not a specific area.”
He said the project was broken up into different zones so each contractor could work on their own zone.
When Councilwoman Kate Fields asked Bincsik how an entire zone was left out of restoration, he said “the previous administration didn’t want to award that zone at that time.”
“I can’t really speak to why they wouldn’t let us award that zone, but they wouldn’t,” he said.
Their $6.8 million contract with Goyette from 2019 was for work in three of four zones. There was a resolution to award the fourth zone to WT Stevens but it failed with a 4-4 vote in council.
“Something is fishy about this whole thing,” Winfrey-Carter said. “I think this should be rebidded because that zone never got rebidded. I won’t be voting for this. Right is right and wrong is wrong.”
During the meeting, Council President Monica Galloway expressed concern about the process behind the request for additional funding.
“It seems like this is plugging a hole,” she said. “This should be additional money. This $2 million is for them to do additional work, so if there are contractual issues with the contract they already agreed to for restoration, why would we be plugging in new money?”
She said resolutions are supposed to stick to one thing, but that this funding appeared to be going towards their old contract as well as their new work on Zone 4.
Bincsik said the $2 million “can be viewed either way, an additional award or an addition to the existing amount.”
“Either way we’re moving forward with the remaining addresses that need to be restored,” he said.
Galloway and Winfrey-Carter voted against the approval of this resolution. Councilman Eric Mays abstained.