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Published: Wednesday, 3/24/2004

Split Bedford Township board pays $273,000 for library

TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township board members last night reluctantly approved a $273,000 payment on their $3 million library after listening to township officials describe numerous problems with the ongoing construction.

The board voted 4-2 to pay the $273,451.50 bill, for progress made through the end of February. Overall, about a third of the project has now been completed and paid for.

Township clerk Bob Schockman and trustee Dennis Steinman voted against paying the bill, but were outnumbered by their fellow board members who expressed concern about putting the township in breach of its contractual obligations.

Much of the township's concern centered around change orders that have yet to be approved but that were already implemented, work that may or may not have been done, and a general mistrust that the bill before them was accurate.

Township supervisor LaMar Frederick said he met yesterday with general contractor J.L. Judge Construction Services, of Detroit, and the township's Toledo-based architect, The Collaborative, to talk about several problems township officials have identified. One of those problems was a certified bill for over $15,000 in labor for "drywall" when not a single sheet of wallboard had yet been hung.

"I think part of it is that we're not having the leadership by the architect that we expected. We relied on them, and maybe it's misplaced reliance," Mr. Frederick said. "We are looking for information for completed construction that satisfies the state construction code, and we don't have it. It certainly seems fair for us to be very critical of the quality and quantity of work that is going on over there."

Township board members expressed indignation at what was before them.

"This whole thing is a sham! I just can't believe that we're dumb enough to give them another quarter-million dollars on this," Mr. Steinman said.

"This bill says there's $15,875 worth of drywall work that's been done, and I know ... that it hasn't been done," Mr. Schockman said. "It bothers me immensely that I have to sign a check that I know is not exactly right."

Mr. Frederick said the owner of J.L. Judge has promised to appear at the board's next meeting on April 6 to answer questions in person about the library project.

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