Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando gets go-ahead to look for new dredge contractor

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County can proceed with finding a contractor to take over the Hernando Beach Channel dredging project.

That was just what County Administrator David Hamilton hoped to hear Friday as the county waited for word from the bonding company for the contractor that county commissioners threw off the project last month.

In a letter to assistant county attorney Jon Jouben, the representative of bonding company Liberty Mutual states that the firm has no intention of taking on the dredge itself, which was one of its options.

The representative, Duane Daiker, also states, however, that "Hernando County has agreed that Liberty Mutual is reserving all rights and defenses in this matter'' and will continue to investigate it.

While that phrase raises the question of whether the firm will pay on its bond, Hamilton said late Friday that issue will be handled by the county attorney's office and he will take a formal proposal to proceed to the County Commission on Tuesday.

"We're right on schedule as we struggle to bring this project back under operation,'' Hamilton said.

In the interim, county officials will be meeting on Monday with at least four companies interested in completing the dredging work. There also may be a fifth contractor at the table as well: Orion Dredging Services LLC, the contractor the county recently fired for breaching its contract.

On Thursday, Orion Dredging Services LLC sent a letter to Susan Goebel, transportation services director, extending an olive branch to avoid a lawsuit.

"Orion is not in the business of pursuing litigation and prefers to devote its effort to completing projects that offer good value for our clients and us,'' wrote John A. Yaksch, manager of contract administration.

"Given the attendant time and cost for both parties, we are of the mind-set that litigation of this dispute is not in the best interests of the project, Hernando County taxpayers or our firm,'' he wrote.

Yaksch extended an invitation for Goebel to meet and work on a deal.

The county responded on Friday saying officials would meet with Orion representatives at 3:30 p.m. Monday but only if certain conditions were met.

Those included a construction agreement co-signed by Orion Dredging's parent corporation, that a completion bond for the county would be provided to guarantee the job was done by the June 30, 2011, state funding deadline, an agreement that Orion was solely responsible for any more state permit changes, and an agreement that the county would pay no amount to Orion for delays or remobilizing.

A new Orion team to accomplish the dredge was also requested.

Dredging on the long-awaited project began late last year but was stopped by the state in January when it was discovered that the dewatering system in place was not stripping enough sediment out of the water. Since then the county, Orion and the county's dredging consultant have been working out a new dewatering system.

Once the county got the permit for the new system, which includes a series of settling ponds and the addition of a chemical coagulant, Orion returned to the table asking that their original $5 million contract be expanded by another $7.8 million for the additional work.

That took the total project cost out of reach for its $9 million budget.

When no compromise could be reached, the county put the firm on notice that it was in breach of contract and notified Liberty Mutual.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando gets go-ahead to look for new dredge contractor 10/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 22, 2010 8:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.