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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Butterfield City Council confronts Graupman on engineering issues

  • “If you could give me the specifics... I understand that we’re all frustrated because this has drawn on and on, but I’ve come here to discuss what you have for questions.”
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  • Engineer John Graupman from Bolton and Menk, Inc.,  in Mankato attended the Monday, Feb. 11 Butterfield City Council meeting to discuss the progress of projects he was meant to oversee.
    The city of Butterfield has struggled to receive the services they were contracted to receive from Bolton and Menk, Inc. Through engineering mistakes, much of the projects they were meant to finish have gone undone or were done incorrectly.
    “All of R and R’s change items should be complete, since the last meeting they put a stop out there so that should be done,” said Graupman.
    The council decided to table the payment into R and R’s account and would look at their options for pursuing the reception of liquidated damages funds in the approximate amount of more than $25,000. This figure includes all of the legitimate costs that could be backed up in mediation.
    There were also issues on a pipe that runs through the pond  in Butterfield on top of the liner. There were suggestions both to shorten the pipe, or to install a valve in the pipe in order to make that pipe work.
    “I’m willing to look at anything, I just don’t want to delay it any longer than we have to,” said Graupman.
    “I think there is going to be a lot more cost involved if we dig through the dike level or under that pipe,” said Keith Pankratz.
    There was some concern among council members that the cost for renovations to the project would fall back on the city. The city of Butterfield, thus far, has been making payments for change orders made because of engineering mistakes by Graupman and Bolton and Menk, Inc. Resulting in more than $100,000 in additional costs to projects.
    “Right now, when I say it’s a Bolton and Menk issue,” said Graupman. “Unless it gets to be super elaborate, if it remains a simple fix we will cover that cost, so it’s zero cost to the city.”
    The original design called for too much piping, which made the pressure within the pipe incorrect and the project to ultimately fail. The city had to pay for the material in the project, so questions were raised by Council Member Andy Fisch regarding the engineering error which resulted in the purchase of excess piping.
    “We’re willing to fix what needs to be fixed to make it work,” repeated Graupman. “I guess I understand, you’re looking and you are wanting a discount on the overall price, I guess we’re offering to fix – if that’s the case than you would pay for the fix and we’d reimburse you for the pipe.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “We’re not the ones that engineered it you guys are, so why would that fall back on us?” responded Fisch.
    The city had to pay for the original pipe, which might be excess at the bottom of the pond and was put there due to an engineering error. This isn’t the first problem they have had with Graupman on engineering error. The city also had to pay for a large slab of concrete that was misplaced in an earlier project which was deemed excess, similar to the piping now in question.
    “It just seems like the project has gone on and on, and there are change orders and there’s ‘well we can do this’ and then it comes back with this bill, and this bill and this bill,” said Council Member Wynette Haler.
    “If you could give me the specifics,” began Graupman. “I understand that we’re all frustrated because this has drawn on and on, but I’ve come here to discuss what you have for questions.”
    The council stated it has gotten to a point where they don’t want to pay any more for the mistakes of Graupman and Bolton and Menk, Inc.
    The issue was tabled and Graupman was asked to come back to the next meeting for further discussion and to move forward with the issues.
    Matt Lynch from Buck Shots stopped by the council meeting to answer questions regarding the missed payment for Liquor Liability Insurance. According the forms sent to the council, the establishment’s liquor liability insurance was not in place from December 22, 2012 until January 11, 2013, when it was reinstated.
    “I was under the assumption that I had it, because we had paid it right along. Once they said it was late I paid,” said Lynch. “If there was an issue, I apologize for that and if that’s the case I won’t let it happen again.”
    Other Business:
    Council discussed lights on highway 60 and the possible aid from MnDOT in maintenance costs.
    The city approved the purchase of a new truck from Norwood for the amount of $17,250.
    Council members discussed the plowing of the streets in Butterfield and the typical pattern by which they are plowed.
    Members signed a statement of ethics.
    Approved all financials with exception of R and R and Bolton and Menk Inc.
    Accepted proposed Waste Management contract which was discussed in length at the January meeting.
    Increased water and sewer rates by 30 and 15 cents respectively, per 1,000.
    Agreed to send a letter which will go out to all city residents regarding the pet policy and city ordinances.

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