Council votes to renew contract with engineering company

By Kellen Olshefski

Correspondent

The City of Elkhorn Common Council voted in favor of retaining Kapur and Associates to provide engineering services for 2017 at its Dec. 19 meeting.

City Administrator Sam Tapson said at the Dec. 12 Finance and Judicial Committee meeting the contract is scheduled to expire Jan. 31. Tapson said the contract renewal was for two years, though he had recommended to City Engineer Jason Feucht a three-year renewal be submitted.

Alderman Tom Myrin said he felt the first question needing to be answered is whether or not the city is interested in renewing with Kapur and Associates.

“Is this the right company, are they doing a good job,” Myrin said. “Do we have questions in regards to that.”

Alderman Scott McClory said similar to an employee evaluation, you shouldn’t wait until the day of an evaluation to inform the company of any concerns, noting he hasn’t observed any major concerns with Kapur and Associates, or at least nothing significant enough to make him want to pursue a contract with another engineering firm.

Tapson said he wouldn’t bring the renewal to the committee if he felt there were any major issues previously. He said there were some transitional issues switching from Stantec to Kapur and Associates, and also with the departure of former City Engineer Paul Vanhenkelum and the subsequent “baton hand-off” to Feucht.

However, Tapson said he didn’t feel there was anything “of major consequence. I think we’re in the right place, at the right time with the right people to work for us,” he said.

Alderman Hoss Rehberg said he echoed Tapson’s position, noting he was disappointed with the transition between Vanhenkelum and Feucht and had expressed his concerns a few months back. Rehberg also noted some of the problems stemmed from Ryan Cardinal’s departure from Kapur and Associates, who handled road engineering for the city.

“None of us were made aware of that and as a councilmember, that did concern me,” Rehberg said. “On the flip side of that, Jason has come in and done a good job. Sam, Jason and Jason’s boss have met and think they have ironed out some of the issues through that transition process.”

Rehberg said he would prefer the city only renew the contract for a year at this time, simply to ensure all concerns are ironed out and more won’t arise within the next year, especially considering the city is facing some major projects.

Utilities Director John Murphy said he thinks the engineering firm is doing a “great job” so far, and said he has no issues at all with the service level they are providing, a statement echoed by Public Works Manager Neal Kolb.

Feucht, after being asked for his thoughts by McClory, said he thinks the city is correct in feeling there were some concerns, “some choppiness” in the transition. However, Feucht said, he did his best to right those wrongs as quickly as possible, and since moving forward from that transition communication has improved greatly. He also said he feels very confident in the direction the city and Kapur and Associates are heading.

The committee unanimously approved a recommendation to the full council that the city engage Kapur and Associates for a period not to exceed two years for engineering services.

 

 
 

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