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Change order for MacNider sidewalk and driveway cost City thousands

This news story was published on September 28, 2013.
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New sidewalk and driveway

New sidewalk and driveway

MASON CITY – A sidewalk and driveway replacement project at MacNider Art Museum in Mason City had a cost over-run of thousands of dollars, which city taxpayers covered.

According to a City Hall memo, the winning bidder for the project was Larry Elwood construction at a bid of $32,231.80.  After the project started, “complications” arose, the memo states.

“An even older sidewalk” was discovered under the existing sidewalk that was being removed.  The removal of the older sidewalk cost an extra $2,650.00.

“Similarly, complications occurred when the brick driveway was removed,” the memo continues, “and a second slab was found underneath.”  Another $1,705.00 was added the bill for that.

“In order to keep the project moving and due to the small increases,” City Hall officials authorized the change orders, bringing the final cost to $37,231.80.  Elwood Construction has a 5% retainage discount it gave the City, worth $1,861.59, which lowered the cost to $35,370.21.

The City of Mason City has a long-standing agreement with the MacNider Museum to provide upkeep of the grounds and structure.  The museum has hundreds of thousands of dollars set aside for its continued operation.  The museum asked for a sign replacement in this year’s City budget at a cost of $15,000 but was denied.  The item will likely show up on the upcoming budget brought to the City Council.


Sign at MacNider Museum that could be replaced at a cost of thousands of dollars to Mason City taxpayers.

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9 Responses to Change order for MacNider sidewalk and driveway cost City thousands

  1. Allen Reply Report comment

    September 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Mason City engineers that really knew anything went out the window 30 years ago. That period, and before they knew their job and knew the city. There are possibly some retired city employees, and maybe some still working that could have known of these problems. There are also city records that could have been looked at, if the engineers knew where to look. But, alas, these guys would not stoop to asking for help, (it would make them look bad) at the tax payers expense. Yes, $3,000. isn’t much, but it adds up, unfortunately. It does make one wonder how these guys can screw up, repeatedly, and keep their job.

  2. Jonesy Reply Report comment

    September 28, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Big headline. Thousands somewhat sensationalizes it. It was around $3,000. This is really stretching things. Those cost over runs seem reasonable. That is no different than when you hire a contractor to remodel your house and he discovers unforseen issues once he gets into the project. NIT is trying to be the GOTCHA media. Save those headlines for the a story where there are truly thousands of dollars-lie 10,000 or more, or a 25% or greater cost overrun not a 10%.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      September 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

      @Jonesy-it is different when you pay a engineering department to know these things.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        September 29, 2013 at 9:42 am

        True. In a perfect world. It usually never works that way in reality. Lighten up.

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          September 29, 2013 at 11:25 am

          @Anonymous-that is just an excuse for them not doing the job they are paid to do. In the private sector they would lose their jobs over mistakes like that.

          • Anonymous

            September 29, 2013 at 3:36 pm

            My compliments on your ability to type and post with just one hand my friend. Not to mention your ability to drive one handed, use just one hand to cut with a knife and a fork and so many other tasks of daily living.

            Seems like your other hand is perpetually clutching your wallet and locked in a death grip around your bucks. 🙂

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 29, 2013 at 8:03 am

      $4,355 your math is poor

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 28, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Retainage is not a discount. Retainage is when a portion of each payment is held by the property owner until the project is completed to the property owners satisfaction. I believe that retainage for public projects is governed by Iowa law. It is released 30 days after the city gives final approval to the project.

  4. LVS Reply Report comment

    September 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    The city government just loves those cost over runs and change orders. That is how they railroaded through Central Park and a lot of Northbridge. Why do we even have a engineering department if they don’t know what they are doing. I still remember the engineer on the Northbridge Prject telling me they didn’t know the trolly tracks were under the pavement on North Federal and thathere were buried gas tanks on the corners. I told him all they had to do was ask because anyone who grew up in the 50’s in Mason City knew that and we didn’t even need an engineering degree.