Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Beach dredge contractor rejects order to get back to work

BROOKSVILLE — The dredging contractor on the Hernando Beach Channel project will defy the county's order to return immediately to the job, according to a letter received by the county Thursday.

The firm also asked for a hearing before the County Commission. The county has agreed to consider the issue in a public hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the commission chambers.

Orion Dredging Services LLC, notified the county that while the firm would "like to return to work,'' it will not do so until the county agrees to pay more for the project because the scope has grown.

Orion vice president and general counsel Peter Buchler blames Halcrow, the county's consultant on the dredge, for the project's problems. Orion officials have argued before that Halcrow's job was to design a dewatering system that worked and Orion's job was simply to dredge and use that system.

"In fact Halcrow (the county's professional design firm) has already completed three separate and costly designs but yet the county continues to excuse and protect its professional design firm,'' Buchler wrote.

"Why does the county continue to excuse and protect its professional design firm (Halcrow)? Why doesn't the county file a claim against Halcrow's professional liability insurance policy?''

The letter also blasts the county's letter demanding that Orion return to work, saying it is full of "confusion, obfuscation and distortion of the facts'' and complains that the firm has been "savaged in the press and otherwise victimized by the county.''

Orion began dredging late last year, but work stopped in January when state officials determined that there was too much sediment being returned to the canal system. Since then, the county, Orion and Halcrow revised the dewatering plan, adding settling ponds and a coagulant to strip more sediment from the dredge spoils.

Because of the extra tasks, Orion asked for $7.8 million to complete the project, on top of the original $5 million contract price. After negotiations failed over that change order, the county ordered Orion back to work, notified the firm that it had breached its contract, and told Orion that it must meet the requirements of the state permit within the original contract cost.

Buchler states that the contract between Orion and the county requires mutually agreeable provisions on compensation and scheduling and the contract cannot be modified without both parties agreeing to the modification.

"Your position is a desperate and absurd assertion,'' he wrote.

Orion's appeal before the County Commission will be familiar territory. Earlier this year, when the dredge ground to a halt, officials from both Halcrow and Orion stood before the board to blame the other for the failed dewatering system.

The conclusion of that discussion was the effort by all parties to design the new dewatering system and get a permit to begin dredging again from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Because of the potential that the dispute could land the county in court, the county attorney has urged officials to not comment on the situation.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando Beach dredge contractor rejects order to get back to work 09/16/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 8:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Paul Rodgers replacing ZZ Top on Ribfest 2017 lineup

    Blogs

    In looking to replace the ailing ZZ Top, Ribfest found some good company in Bad Company.

    Paul Rodgers
  2. Some teachers allege 'hostile and racially charged' workplace at Pinellas Park Middle

    K12

    PINELLAS PARK — Two black teachers at Pinellas Park Middle have requested transfers out of the school, alleging the work environment there has become "hostile and racially charged."

    Pinellas Park Middle School at 6940 70th Ave N, where some black teachers have alleged they were treated with hostility by colleagues after starting a tutoring program for black students. Just 22 percent of black students were proficient in English language arts in last spring's state tests. Two black teachers have asked to be transfered, according to a letter from two local chapters of the NAACP. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race

    Editorials

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  4. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  5. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.