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Engineering payment tabled by authority

| Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 11:49 p.m.

The Municipal Authority of Washington Township on Tuesday declined to pay an invoice for nearly $500,000 to its former engineering firm.

The $496,662 invoice for storm sewer project work was issued in May by Bankson Engineers Inc. for labor performed in 2006, according to board members Chuck Yusko and Tim Naulty.

Yusko said the authority did not receive the invoice until this year.

The original invoice requested a payment of $464,170. A monthly interest of $4,642 has been tacked on to the total. The board tabled a motion to pay the bill at Tuesday's monthly agenda meeting. Yusko, Naulty and Dave Samek voted to table the motion while Julius Petrosky opposed.

At issue, Petrosky said, is documentation for hours worked and that Bankson supplied that, but McCue and a majority of the board demanded time cards and a breakdown of hours charged to justify the fee.

“I think once we take this off the agenda, I think we're going to court,” Petrosky said.

“From about 2007 to present there's always been engineering fees going forward from year to year,” Petrosky added, after the meeting. “All of a sudden, we're asking for time cards. We've never asked for time slips before from any contractor to verify before. This project came in way under budget, and I think they're legally owed this money.”

The invoice was to be paid out of tap-in fees collected throughout the township.

Solicitor Don McCue said the bill should not be paid Tuesday, “because of a lack of information supplied by Bankson.”

At a previous authority meeting, Bankson project engineer Dave Kerchner addressed the board, but did not give enough specifics to warrant paying the invoice, according to Samek.

“A former board member questioned him about the summary sheets he said were very clear and he did furnish those summary sheets and they were far from clear, so it didn't help the situation at all,” Samek said.

“You're waiting for information that's never going to come,” resident Dan Moody said.

“You can't pay this bill without having invoices to know what we're paying for,” Yusko said.

“I understand that the information is there,” Moody replied.

“It's not satisfactory to the board,” McCue said.

“This thing is there accruing interest,” Moody said. “It's costing us money.”

The authority voted in January to cut ties with Bankson, its firm for more than two decades, and hired McMillen Engineering.

Bankson performed the sewer design and majority of installation for the township's sewage project, which began in 2006.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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