The Elba City Council voted Monday night, July 12, to extend the contract to allow more time for the ongoing sewer project in the city to be completed.

During the previous council meeting, city clerk Sally Bane said she had been in discussions with the project engineer, and neither she nor the engineer believed the contractor would be finished with the project by the contract’s original finish date of July 21st. At that time, Bane said she fully expected the contractor, Blankenship Contracting Inc. of Dothan, Ala., to request a contract extension.

Monday night, Mayor Tom Maddox said that extension request had arrived earlier in the day Monday for the council to consider. He said the contractor requested an additional 210 days to complete the sewer project work in Elba; however, the mayor added that the contractor felt the project would be completed well before the 210 days, which would extend the project to February 2022.

Council members had a lengthy discussion as to whether [or not] 210 additional days would be too much time thus encouraging the contractor to move more slowly to complete the project. Both the mayor and city clerk said they felt, based on their communications with the contractor, that the project would be completed sooner rather than later. The mayor added that the contractor still believes the project can be completed closer to the end of October rather than taking the 210 days as requested but had requested the maximum amount of extension time simply to prevent having to return for another extension should some unforeseen or unplanned issue slow the project down.

Council member A.R. Williams suggested during the discussion to consider only extended 105 days rather than 210, and council member Gappa Wise noted he was more inclined to go with 105 days only too. However, a motion was made to go ahead and approve a contract extension to Blankenship Contracting for an additional 210 days. This motion passed with a 4-1 vote [voting in favor were council members Williams, Jane Brunson, and Johnathan Lockett, along with Mayor Maddox; voting against was council member Wise; and council member Bryan Grimes was not at Monday evening’s meeting].

After the meeting, Wise said he wanted to be clear that he was in favor of an extension, but he just felt 210 days was too long. He said he would have voted in favor of 105 days, as suggested, rather than the 210 days. 

After the vote, Mayor Maddox said USDA would also have to approve the contract extension since grant monies are involved with this project, but he said the engineer sees no issues with that going through with USDA.

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