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Algonac renews contract with engineering firm

Photo courtesy of CT Community Television/YouTube Members of the Algonac City Council weren’t in agreement about renewing a contract with their engineering firm.

Vote was close at 4 to 3

By Barb Pert Templeton

Officials in Algonac were at odds when it came to renewing a contract for engineering services with Hubbell, Roth and Clark (HRC) at a Dec. 20 meeting.

Mayor Rocky Gillis read a memo submitted by Algonac City Manager Denice A. Gerstenberg into the record. It stated that members of the city council were being asked to approve a consulting agreement renewal for engineering services between the City of Algonac and Hubbell, Roth and Clark (HRC) for the period January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2023. 

In a summary with background information on the firm, it was noted that the city first signed a consulting agreement with the firm in 2019 which covered a two-year period from Jan. 2020 to Dec. 2022. 

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Gerstenberg noted that city staff members have been very satisfied with the engineering services provided by HRC and listed 18 projects they’ve been involved with over two years. 

The city manager further stated that HRC has a depth of experience and a wide range of technical experience. She stated that they provide documents in a timely manner, including monthly reports, suggest innovative solutions, and seek out and obtain grant monies for city projects and their extensive knowledge of water and sewer treatment facilities has been invaluable. 

Councilman Michael Bembas then made a motion to approve the contract renewal and it was seconded by Councilman Ed Carter. 

Photo courtesy of CT Community Television/YouTube
Algonac Mayor Pro Tem Ray Martin wanted to table the engineering contract approval in order to get input from residents. Martin is pictured here on the right alongside Councilwoman Cathy Harris who also voted against the contract renewal

During the discussion section, Mayor Pro Tem Ray Martin made a motion to postpone the approval and it was supported by Councilwoman Cathy Harris. 

“This would be for time to think about what is proposed and allow for any citizen input that may be present in our community,” Martin said.

Having two motions on the floor meant the first one had to be voted on or amended to include the postponement, Gerstenberg said.

Bembas said he didn’t want to amend his motion, he thinks HRC has done an excellent job and it’s just extending their contract by one-year, it doesn’t change anything the city is already doing.

“I think we have to vote on this,” Bembas said.

Councilwoman Dawn Davey said that when the city is involved in major projects it would be helpful for council to have HRC representatives come to city council meetings when the projects are on the agenda.

“So. we can ask the engineering firm directly if we have some questions or concerns; that’s a concern of mine and that’s what I’d like to see happen,” Davey said.

“This body has the right to request that to happen,” Gillis replied.

Gerstenberg then informed council that representatives from HRC will attend meetings if asked.

“Whenever the city council would like a representative from HRC to attend a meeting, HRC will be at the meeting,” she added.

The mayor then called for a vote on the motion to renew the contract. 

Council members Harris, Martin and Davey voted against the motion while Gillis, Bembas and council members Corey Blair and Ed Carter voted in favor of it. 

The motion passed 4 to 3.

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