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City, contractor reach agreement on Long Avenue paving deficiencies

After weeks of tense back-and-forth between the City of Port St. Joe and the contractor for the recent repaving of Long Avenue over costs associated with deficiencies in the completed project, the parties have achieved a resolution.

North Florida Construction, the project’s contractor, will re-mill and pave the entire roadway in exchange for the full remaining $414,000 balance of their initial contract with the city.

City commissioners had voted on July 20 to withhold $100,000 from their final payment to the company to use on future repairs to the road as they should be needed. But in the interest of moving forward, the commissioners rescinded this motion on August 1.

“We need to rescind our former motion to accept this offer from North Florida Construction,” said Mayor Rex Buzzett. “And then we can all move forward from this and, hopefully, preserve some of our working relationship.”

The city’s decision came in the wake of sometimes heated disputes over the amount of a proposed price reduction due to concerns about the quality of the completed work.

At the commissioners’ July 18 meeting, Jamie Miller, a project manager with North Florida Construction, took to the podium to address the conflict directly.

His company had offered the city $20,091.50 to cover the cost of the paving’s deficiencies, which would be deducted from the city’s final payment to North Florida Construction.

This was about $80,000 less than the $100,000 requested by the city.

According to Miller, the discrepancy resulted from several change orders, which have not yet been officially presented to or voted on by the commissioners. 

“We did accept the $100,000 penalty. However, we had $80,000 in overages, so that’s the number reflected,” he said to the board.

The commissioners countered North Florida’s offer with their withholding of $100,000 from the final payment, an offer that was then rejected by North Florida in favor of the solution agreed upon on Aug. 1.

In an email sent by Miller to City Manager Jim Anderson on July 20, North Florida Construction said “(they) prefer to mill and resurface the entire roadway 1” thick. In return, (they) will be owed the entire contract amount following satisfactory completion of this task.”

The city will continue to withhold $100,000 from North Florida Construction until the repairs have been made to the road.

Due to the need for certain asphalt patches to settle before the repaving can be completed, no work is expected to be done on the road for at least nine months.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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