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Bill reluctantly paid to engineering consultants

Published October 05. 2009 02:55PM

A bill from CMX, engineering consultants retained by Mahoning Township, raised some eyebrows and a few objections before begrudgingly being paid at Wednesday night's meeting but not before a few of the supervisors voiced their displeasure over the matter and ultimately decided to forward a copy of the bill to the county since it was their project at Packerton Yards that originated the liability.

"I'm not in favor of paying any bills until a plan comes in," said supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt. Township Secretary Natalie Haggerty explained the bill originated from a piece of correspondence received from PennDOT that needed to be answered. Haggerty said she forwarded it to the engineering firm that the township must use because the township's normal engineers Carbon Engineering have been retained by the county.

When the CMX engineer called to ask some questions, Haggerty said she answered them and it was only when she received the bill that she realized the inquiries were "on the clock."

Supervisor John Wieczorek questioned whether the agreement with CMX allowed them to bill the township in that manner. Solicitor Steve Serfass said that one should assume service professionals in that context probably will be billing time spent on the phone as they are charging for their input.

Steigerwalt said he was agreeable to paying this one bill but added that the township should hold the correspondence until a plan comes to the township for review. "We shouldn't be sending them anything until we have a plan," he said.

At one point Chairperson Pat Snyder asked if the supervisors wanted to not pay the bill, but the suggestion failed to be moved by any of them. Steigerwalt said that he felt the bill should be paid this time, but they should be notified the township wasn't happy with how the bill occurred. Steigerwalt then moved to pay the bill and Snyder seconded the motion. The vote carried 4-0.

Steigerwalt then moved to forward the bill to the county for reimbursement. He said he believed that since it was the county's project they should be taking care of these costs. Supervisor George Stawnyczyj seconded the motion and that also carried 4-0. Serfass said he would review the agreement to see if this type of billing was covered in it and the terms so that supervisors would be aware in the future what actions cause billable time.

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