Council votes to pay Cooper Brothers $31,000

Published 8:53 pm Thursday, November 19, 2015

After a deadlock earlier this month, the Selma City Council decided Thursday to pay Cooper Brothers Construction a final payment for work on the Riverfront Amphitheater.

Councilman Greg Bjelke asked for the issue to be brought up again. Bjelke abstained from a 4-4 vote earlier this month to pay Cooper Brothers $31,000.

“I was undecided the last meeting. I’ve done a lot of thinking about it, and I would just like to get this settled and move forward with it,” Bjelke said.

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The motion passed 5-0 with support from Bjelke, Corey Bowie, Michael Johnson, B.L. Tucker and Cecil Williamson.

Council members Angela Benjamin, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, Susan Keith and Sam Randolph were absent for the vote.

Cooper Brothers president Tom Bolton addressed the council during a work session Nov. 9, asking for a final payment of $41,600. He said the payment was more than 90 days past due and is needed to pay subcontractors who helped with the project.

Some council members contested the amount due, saying late penalties should be deducted from what’s owed.

The city’s contract with Cooper Brothers calls for a $1,000 per day late penalty after Feb. 14. An architect with the city of Selma completed a punch list for Bolton saying the project was 12 days late.

Bowie said he felt the most the city could subtract would be $12,000.

“One word — accountability. I think both parties could have addressed this a lot better,” Bowie said at the time. “Once our architect signs the punch list. I guess that pretty much binds us. We can learn from this situation.”

Councilwoman Susan Keith made a motion during the Nov. 10 council meeting to pay Cooper Brothers $31,000. That amount would have included more than $10,000, or between 10 and 11 days, in late fees. The Nov. 10 vote tied 4-4 with Bjelke abstaining.