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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 But in the interest of moving forward, the commissioners rescinded this motion on August 1.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

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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