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Walworth may drop engineer

Village "re-evaluating" service

May 19, 2010 | 08:44 AM
Walworth — Foth, the village's current engineering firm, soon may be down a client.

During its May meeting, the Village Board renewed its committee appointments and providers for professional services.

However, when it came to the village's engineer, the board didn't act on whether to keep Foth.

In the last few months, the village often has tabled paying bills submitted by Foth, often seeking clarification on invoice items. Foth also provided the engineering service during the Beloit Street construction, which significantly exceeded its original budget.

After the meeting, Village President Todd Watters said the board currently is reviewing the services that are provided by its engineer.

He said the board periodically re-evaluates services that it receives, but admitted several recent incidents have promoted a review.

"There has been a sequence of projects or advice that we are not necessarily happy with," Watters said. "We want to see what other talent is out there," he said.

The village's agreement with Foth is at-will and services are paid for as needed.

Watters said there has been "very pubic discussions about the Beloit Street" project.

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Last fall, the village began a reconstruction of the road. The project has since turned into a major headache.

More topsoil than expected was found underneath the road, it rained throughout the construction, causing delays and in the end, the price tag on the project increased by more than the original bid amount.

During the construction, an engineer also observed that material was poured onto the road cold, which can cause problems with the finished product.

However, the on-site engineer's observation wasn't reported to Public Works Director Tim Boss or any of the village trustees.

In January, Village Board members questioned bills submitted by Foth regarding inspections it performed during the Beloit Street construction.

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Trustees questioned why some of the problems with the road weren't detected during the construction.

"It leads us to the question of what was actually being inspected," Trustee David Rasmussen said in January. "Could we have had someone from the town sitting on the curb in a chair watching them pour?"

Last year, Foth replaced Kevin Richard as the engineer working with the village to Bill Dunlop.

"Up until that point, with the previous engineer, we had very good experiences," Watters said.

This isn't the first sign that the village may be ending its relationship with Foth. The village recently tested the waters with another engineering firm.

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Recently, Trustee LeRoy Nordmeyer and the village's Public Works Department worked with Baxter and Woodman, Inc., and engineering firm in Burlington, to resolve an issue with the Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR threatened to shut down a village well because of its nitrate levels. However, the levels were under the maximum allowed by the state.

Nordmeyer said Baxter and Woodman was able to reach an agreement with the DNR.

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