Flint, MI– Mayor Sheldon Neeley is calling on the Flint City Council to approve a $500,000 change order to a contract for Rowe Professional Services to continue providing project management on the lead service line replacement program. 

Rowe entered into a contract with the City on March 11, 2019 in an amount not to exceed $2,138,735. The project was supposed to be completed at the end of 2019, but due to COVID-19 and other delays, it is still ongoing. Since the project is being extended into 2021, the company is requesting an additional half a million dollars, which would raise their contract price to $2,638,735.

According to a press release sent out by the City this morning, the service line replacement project is in its final stages. So far, 26,800 service lines have been excavated, and of those, 9,200 were lead or galvanized steel. There are fewer than 500 service lines estimated to be remaining.

In order to continue working, the council needs to vote on the contract, according to the press release from the mayor’s office. But city council members have repeatedly voted not to move this change order from committee meetings to the regular council meeting where it could be approved.

At Monday’s special affairs committee meeting, Councilman Allan Griggs said he felt someone else should be responsible for paying the half a million dollars, not Flint. 

Councilwoman Monica Galloway questioned how they could need more money if so much of their work had ceased, and why there was not money left over.

Councilman Eric Mays said the delays were due to previous majority council decisions to change the engineering firm working on the project from AECOM to Rowe. 

Neeley claims in the press release sent out today, that council could be bringing the project work to a halt if they don’t vote on the change order. 

“All we want is for Flint City Council to do what is in the best interest of the residents of the City of Flint. Instead we are seeing obstructionists who attempt to sideline every issue before them. Petty politics has no place here when lives are at risk. People have been through so much for so long, we need to get this project completed,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said.

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...