Dispute could delay fire department expansion

BONIFAY – A dispute between the engineering firm and contractor could result in further delay for the long-awaited expansion of the Bonifay Fire Station.

Dewberry Engineering states Holley Development will not provide requested quantity information about the project to help the company verify reimbursement requests, an issue which the engineering firm says has the expansion at a standstill.

Attorney Aaron White of Dunlap & Shipman, P.A., which represents Holley Development, says the firm is willing to let go of the project if they are paid $76,504.33 in what the company says are “hard costs” spent thus far.

Elissa Pettis of Dewberry Engineering states there has been no evidence of those costs, however, and that some of the costs alleged were for expenses that should not have yet been incurred, such as for materials that were ordered before engineers had given approval.

“To simplify the issue, the working relationship between the engineering firm and the contractor is just not going to be sustainable for this project,” said Bonifay City Attorney Michelle Jordan. “There’s some bad blood; there’s some bad history. The engineer’s opinion at this point is that Holley was an irresponsible bidder and should have never been awarded the project, and with that kind of an opinion, this project is never going to get off the ground, and we’re just going to end up in litigation, and everybody’s going to lose.”

White immediately took issue with the accusation on behalf of his client.

This allegation that Holley Development was not a responsible bidder for this project is not fair,” said White. “They’ve been out there working. You’ve all seen the work, I’m sure. They’ve also been very responsive, so they don’t appreciate that characterization.”

Jordan states she anticipates both parties will have to work toward building a mutual termination of the agreement.

Should the agreement be terminated, the project will need to once again be put out for bids.

A special meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, May 17, at which time the City will vote on how to proceed.

Groundbreaking was held on the project in March, but the $850,000 in funds were appropriated from the stateÂ’s budget more than three years ago. 

The Times-Advertiser will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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