EARLY — City council members here said Prater Equipment still owes the city warranty work on a street project — and, the council said, the city owes Prater nothing for warranty work the company has already done.
Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to refuse to pay about $10,000 in bills from the Comanche-based company, saying the bills are for work covered by warranty as part of the $1.9 million contract the city awarded the company in December 2005.
Prater submitted four invoices from May 1 to Aug. 23 for $5,500, $1,800, $2,100 and $488, City Administrator Ken Thomas told council members.
“He’s doing this to bully us,” councilman William Kelcy said of Prater’s invoices.
Prater representatives did not attend the council meeting and could not be reached later for comment.
City officials have said asphalt on four city streets the company rebuilt bled severely through the top rock layer and was ripped up by the tires of passing traffic in some places.
The city maintains the problems are the result of either defective workmanship or defective materials and the company is responsible. Prater has said it isn’t at fault for the problems on the streets so the problems aren’t covered by warranty.
The council expressed dissatisfaction Tuesday night with the way Prater has handled the project.
“The amount of dissatisfaction with the way this contract has progressed has been beyond description,” councilman David Gray said.
Councilman Benny Allcorn said the company has done “a poor job” and said he is disappointed in “a poor project.”
“We can cut this discussion pretty short,” Gray said. He then made a motion that the city refuse to pay the invoices because they are for work covered by warranty.
“Aye,” council members sang out loudly when Mayor Bob Mangrum called for a vote.
City officials have said asphalt bled through the rock on Old Comanche Road, Longhorn Drive, Allen Drive and East River Oaks.
Prater Vice President Mark Pirkle has said there’s no evidence that the company is at fault, and that he expects Prater to be paid for the work it has done to repair the problem areas. Prater has put down extra rock and patched ripped-up areas of the street, city officials have said.
Mangrum read council members a portion of an e-mail Tuesday from the city’s engineer, Ken Martin. Martin said in the e-mail he inspected Prater’s repairs Friday.
“There is a lot of loose rock; therefore, I am not sure that I could see everything that was repaired or that needed to be repaired,” Martin said in the e-mail. “From what I could see it appears that Prater has repaired the items we requested. I did not see any of the repairs as they were made; therefore, I do not know the thickness of the hot mix patches.
“ … There will be more bleeding next year that will require chat or some small rock, but hopefully we have seen the last of the severe bleeding that allows sections of the pavement to be pulled up by traffic. Minor bleeding is not considered defective work and most contractors take care of minor bleeding as a courtesy to the city …it appears that there is enough rock stuck to minimize the chances of severe bleeding.”
But council members said the loose rock needs to be swept away so the repairs can be inspected by both city and Prater officials. The council also discussed a crack in a low water crossing on one of the streets.
“What we told them to fix, we think they’ve fixed,” Mangrum said. “Now we’ve got some other areas that are questionable … obviously not everything’s fixed.
“We’re obviously still at square one. Even though we’ve gotten some things fixed, we’re still got a lot to do.”
In an earlier meeting, Martin, answering a question from City Attorney Perry Sims, said the severe bleeding couldn’t have been caused by anything other than defective workmanship or defective material.