Council decided to take no action on an ordinance that would have authorized interim City Manager Brant Gary to execute an agreement with construction management company ARKK Engineers for $116,313 in additional funding, which would be used to cover the extra time construction has taken on the two projects. No council members made a motion to approve or reject the funding after returning from a closed meeting Aug. 3 to explore legal options with Bellaire’s city attorney.
ARKK Engineers was originally contracted for $403,685 to oversee the two projects: one at the 4500 Block of Maple Street and Bolivar Street, and one on the 5100 and 5200 blocks of Spruce Street and Fifth Street between Cedar and Locust streets. Both projects are part of Group C, Phase 2 in the city’s Bonds for Better Bellaire program.
ARKK has been tasked with overseeing street, drainage and sidewalk improvements since April 2019, when construction began on Maple and Bolivar streets.
Bellaire City Council has deferred voting on the additional funding since June as it has mulled whether ARKK’s original contract stipulates that the management company is on the hook to work through the construction’s completion.
The management company first came to council to request an extension for each of the two projects, citing construction and weather delays. The city of Bellaire partially granted those requests, according to agenda documents.
The original completion date for Maple and Bolivar streets was Dec. 24, 2019; substantial completion came Feb. 28, though work continued through May.
The original completion date at Spruce and Fifth streets, meanwhile, was scheduled for Feb. 15; that project is still ongoing and will likely continue through August, according to the agenda report given to council.
Danny Spencer, vice chairman of the Bellaire Building and Standards Commission, spoke against approving the funds during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“This cost they provided was a lump sum based on a schedule they provided to us,” Spencer said. “Now, it’s several months past and no end in sight. ARKK wants to be paid more for what they were paid to do in the beginning. We paid for this once already. Let’s not pay for it twice.”