Flint, MI– Some Flint City Council members said they were disappointed with a $2.9 million contract for management services for the service line replacement and restoration project–a project that was supposed to be completed in 2019.
During a committee meeting on Feb. 24, the council was presented with two resolutions related to service line replacement and restoration services in the city.
The first was to extend the deadline to complete the project by amending a settlement agreement between Flint Pastors, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Resources Defense Council against the state of Michigan and the city of Flint.
The original settlement required the city to excavate and replace lead and galvanized steel residential service lines by 2019. The resolution would extend the deadline to 2022.
“In the immediate aftermath of the Flint Water Crisis, the settlement agreement provided the funding and framework for the replacement of lead and galvanized steel service lines in the City of Flint,” the resolution document states.
But while the original agreement was for 2019, the project was pushed to 2020, 2021, and now 2022.
According to the resolution, so far, the city has excavated the service lines at 26,886 homes, and replaced 10,088 lead or galvanized steel service lines that were identified in their excavations.
But there are “several hundred addresses,” that remain to be completed.
In order to get those completed, the council was also presented with a $2.9 million contract with Rowe Professional Services to provide management services for the project.
According to the second resolution, the Department of Public Works would like to continue contracting with Rowe “due to their experience with the ongoing project, their knowledge of working with EGLE, the State of Michigan, and CityWorks software used by the city.”
Rowe first entered into a contract with the city of Flint in 2019 in an amount not to exceed $2,138,735, to provide the project management services. In April of 2021, the Flint City Council approved a $500,000 contract extension for Rowe to continue those services, bringing the contract amount up to $2,638,735.
But restorations came to a halt in September of 2021, when Goyette Mechanical, the company actually completing the restorations, expended all of their funds with several thousand restorations left to do.
Some council members were concerned they were presented with a contract for management services, and not for the actual restoration services.
“We here today voting on an almost $3 million contract for … the same management company to oversee the remaining amount of service lines, and we here have 8,500 yards that’s not been restored that we don’t know where we want to find the funds for. … That’s a big problem for me,” said Councilman Quincy Murphy.
Councilman Dennis Pfeiffer said he agreed with Murphy.
“I’m not going to support $3 million for a consulting firm or project management firm when we don’t have money for these restorations or for the amount or for the work that they’re going to so called ‘project manage.’ It doesn’t make sense,” Pfeiffer said.
Councilwoman Tonya Burns said the new contract for Rowe was “disturbing,” since the $2.9 million was only for management, and not for any of the actual restoration services.
“We want every person in the city of Flint, every resident to have a new service line. We want the restoration products, projects to be complete,” she said. “We want their grass covered. We want the acres of their driveways repaired. We want the work to be completed and it’s not completed.”
The council voted to send the resolutions to the special affairs committee meeting before the regular council meeting on Feb. 28.