Miami Gardens - Opa-locka

Opa-locka votes not to pay contractor $272,000 for work on city pump station

Opa-locka Police Major Sharon Gallimore looks on as her father, Opa-locka Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes, receives the John Land Years of Service Award from the Florida League of Cities on Oct 14.
Opa-locka Police Major Sharon Gallimore looks on as her father, Opa-locka Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes, receives the John Land Years of Service Award from the Florida League of Cities on Oct 14. City of Opa-locka

At its Oct. 14 meeting, the Opa-locka commission rejected a contractor’s request for payment, approved the creation of an employee review committee and deferred a vote on terminating the city’s red light camera contract.

The dais was decorated in pink for breast cancer awareness month and Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes received an award for 20 years of public-service achievements.

The main item

Two weeks after Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor deferred a commission vote to pay a contractor $272,000 for work on a city pump station, commissioners voted 4-1 against the payment.

“When I look at this, I see all kind of red flags,” Commissioner Joseph Kelley said. “Even if we do owe them, there’s a whole lot of folks we owe and if we’re going to start with repaying debt, let’s start repaying with those employees that lost money.”

The initial agreement between Pembroke Pines-based contractor United States Association of CDC and Opa-locka originated from a resolution that passed at a February 2012 meeting, which called for a “complete reconstruction of Pump Station 5.” The project was not to exceed $450,000.

According to city officials, the construction of the pump station had “unforeseen circumstances” that resulted in changes to the original plans for the site. The sanitary sewer pump was given a certificate of completion from the county in May.

“This item is not about a person. It’s not about a company. It’s about principle,” Taylor said. “My colleagues have practiced and the commissioners before this administration have all helped residents, developers and businesses. That was our job — get through the red tape of this city. And each one of us has helped them with their water bill, we’ve helped them get paid and the list goes on. This item is no different.”

While the city’s building director claimed the contractor’s request for payment was valid, the city manager and city attorney disagreed, arguing “we owe nothing.”

“We have reviewed the documents that were presented,” City Manager Steve Shiver said. “We still do not owe this gentleman.”

Other business

▪ Cell tower: The commission unanimously approved a site plan and development agreement for a 100-foot stealth cell tower, which will be disguised as a flagpole, to be built at 490 Ali Baba Ave.

▪ Red light cameras: Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes introduced legislation to terminate the city’s red light camera program. The item was deferred to allow for more research on whether or not the termination will hurt the city financially.

▪ Employee review committee: Commissioners voted in favor to approve the creation of an employee review committee. “Right now our employees have nowhere to go,” Kelley said. “I want to set up something that they have somewhere where they can hear concerns.” Shiver will be responsible to promote staff for the committee.

They said it

“To all of my people in the great city of Opa-locka who supported me all these years, who had faith in me and kept me here for 20 years plus, I want to thank you. I’m very proud to sit here and say that.” Vice Mayor Timothy Holmes, after being presented with the Florida League of Cities’ “John Land Years of Service Award.”

You said it

“The newly appointed city manager has asked for certain documentations and I think I have provided him with those documentations. I now have a signed off change order and I’d like for the committee to reconsider my request for payment.” — George Howard, president of the United States Association of CDC.

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. Oct. 28

▪ Where: 215 Perviz Ave.