Contracts for an environmental study of the old middle school on 10th Street and its demolition are under legal review after aldermen requested it upon receiving a $65,000 change order on the project at their July 1 meeting.

The change order to remove a previously undiscovered layer of asbestos in caulk around the windows was approved on a tie-breaking vote by Mayor Brad Nash pending the review.

The contracts are with the firm that conducted the environmental study, Environmental Operations Inc., and the general contractor, Donald Maggi Inc.

An asbestos removal subcontractor discovered the second layer during the abatement process now underway at the old school building. Maggi’s original bid to demolish the old school was $294,002.

At the meeting, city administrator Ray Walden explained that the caulking is behind every window and will double the amount of window work originally planned. The city’s engineer, Archer Elgin, has determined the scope of the extra work and cost are reasonable, he said.

Walden said he pressed Archer on if Environmental Operations should have caught the extra layer of asbestos in its assessment, but was told something so internal would not normally be seen.

“Maggi wouldn’t have that information to base their quote on, and it’s just additional work that’s needed to finish the abatement,” he told the board. “It is our understanding we’re not expecting any more surprises. They’ve been through enough of the facility that they feel this additional caulking is the only thing left beyond the original quote.”

West Ward Alderman Kevin James said an engineer should have caught the issue during the environmental assessment and that the cost should be split 50-50 with Environmental Operations.

“I’m just struggling with the $65,000,” he said. “It seems outrageous.” He asked if the work could be stopped while the matter is sorted out.

Walden said the abatement is nearing completion and needs to continue so demolition can begin on schedule. He recommended the board approve the change order and have the city attorney see if the city has any recourse. City Attorney William Camm Seay said he would look at both contracts as quickly as possible. Delaying the asbestos work could land the city in court with Maggi for violating its contract, he said.

Walden said there are sufficient funds in the capital improvement sales tax fund to cover the cost of the change order.

“No matter where it comes from, it’s going to cost us,” said West Ward Alderman Kenneth Nash.

Walden urged the board to approve the change order.

“From my perspective, had we had a number of $360,000 when we first started, it would have still been my recommendation that we proceed with the abatement and demolition,” he said. “We just need to deal with that environmental issue and move on. And I honestly believe this will conclude that.”

The estimated asbestos abatement would be done in two weeks, and Maggi is estimating 30 to 40 days to complete the demolition if work was allowed to proceed.

According to a letter from Archer Elgin, the caulking from the original windows was “hidden” when aluminum replacement windows were installed. To remove the caulking, the aluminum windows have to be removed and the opening resealed.

After more debate, alderman Kim Steelman offered a motion to proceed pending a review of the contract, and alderman Rachel Hinderliter seconded it. On a roll call vote, Steelman and Hinderliter voted yes and James and Kenneth Nash voted no. Mayor Brad Nash broke the tie with a yes vote.

• In his report, Walden said the city recently received approval from MoDOT to move forward with requesting bids for a Transportation Alternatives Program grant sidewalk project. Bids are due at 1:30 p.m. July 23. Specifications call for the project to be completed by Nov. 15.

The TAP project involves construction of a sidewalk, a road crossing with push button signalization, curb and gutter and drainage infrastructure along Highway J from Salem High School east to the Community Center @ the Armory.

Walden also reported that possible dates for public workshops on the proposed nuisance ordinances have been received from the Cunningham, Vogel & Rost law firm and would be forwarded to aldermen to find out when they are available.

The firm helped write the ordinances and needs public input before putting them in their final form. The workshops will be during July.

• Also at the meeting, the board approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with Dent County for the collection of real and personal property taxes for the City of Salem and the Salem Public Library through February 2023. Such agreements are allowed under state law and may soon be required by statute, Seay said.

The city will pay the county $12,000 and the collector $5,500 to collect the taxes for the city. Seay said the county can conduct tax sales of property for unpaid taxes, the city cannot.

Another ordinance was approved to accept the subdivision of land at 202-206 W. Fourth Street requested by owner Lan Chen and recommended by the planning & zoning commission.

The board also approved the purchase of a used 2014 John Deere 6615 tractor for the Public Works department from Bader & Sons in Kansas for a delivered price of $52,000.

Director Mark Nash recommended the purchase, saying the price includes a 25-foot Tiger boom brush hog cutter attachment for mowing hills, ditches, roadways, right of ways, walking and biking trails, and can be used to remove overhanging limbs and clean around signs. It has an enclosed cab for wintertime use.

Bids were also received on four smaller tractors— Kubota tractors and two John Deeres—ranging in price from $25,321 to $33,533, but Nash said it would cost another $16,000 to equip one with a five-foot sickle mower. The city would need two of the smaller tractors to replace two being taken out of service at a cost ranging from $66,643 to $83,067 once the sickle mower was added in, he said.

“This one is about $15,000 less than anything we looked at,” he said. “It can do the work of two small tractors with one man. It’ll be a lot easier and make a better-looking job.”

The board also approved a request by City Clerk Mary Happel to amend the UTV ordinance enacted in May to remove the requirement for turn signals. When they come in to register, UTV owners are complaining that only 10 percent of UTVs sold are equipped with turn signals, she said. Permit applicants will be urged to use hand signals instead.

In other action, the board:

• approved street closures around the courthouse square for the eighth annual Blue Oval Rally on Sept. 7,

• approved transformer repairs and replacements for the electric department totaling $14,680. They were budgeted at $30,000

• heard a report on trailer court licenses. Park Street trailer court has not applied and two others, The Finest Place and one owned by Central Missouri Investments, have applications pending until minor issues are addressed, according to Jarred Brown, enforcement officer.