September 20, 2005
Last Friday the Toho-Tolani County Road Improvement District Board of Directors declared the project Surety (Safeco) to be in default. This action by the Board appears to have produced some positive results.
Safeco reached an agreement with the County yesterday to take over responsibility for completing the project that the contractor (A. Miner Contracting) had abandoned. The Board met and approved the Takeover Agreement today (Tuesday).
Safeco has already lined up a new contractor (Combs Construction) to complete the work. Combs will begin working on the project this Friday, September 23, 2005.
Combs stated objective is to lay pavement on the roads that had base (4 inches of gravel) laid earlier this year, and to possibly lay base on the remaining roads... weather permitting, of course.
If this winter is like last year, Combs will be lucky to get any of the paving down.
The News Release reproduced below was issued by Coconino County...
September 16, 2005
Emergency Meeting Held To Determine Course of Action After Surety Is Found In Default
Az. – On Friday, September 16, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors
convened as the Toho-Tolani County Road Improvement District Board of Directors
to discuss the status of the District. Per
State statute, the Board of Supervisors also serves as the Board of Directors
for the District.
After A. Miner Contracting
terminated the Toho-Tolani County Improvement District road construction
contract, the District’s Board of Directors made demand on the contractor’s
bonding company, Safeco Insurance, to complete the road improvements.
The demand was made on June 22, 2005, and the bonding company had up to
sixty (60) days by law to perform.
In late July, Safeco
indicated their intention to perform on the project, but insisted that the
District enter into a takeover agreement, which is not required by law.
In the interest of completing the work as soon as possible, the District
began negotiating a takeover agreement. District officials have done everything
possible to reach an agreement with Safeco Insurance so that work on the paving
project could promptly resume. Just days ago Safeco unexpectedly insisted on
several new provisions in the agreement to which the District was not able to
agree. With no agreement, the District found Safeco Insurance in default. In
the event Safeco re-enters the project, the default could be set aside to allow
them to proceed. However, at this
time, the District is taking over the project to resume construction as soon as
During the emergency
meeting today, the Board of Directors approved the following items:
Expedite the procurement of a
contractor to proceed with construction of the project.
Transfer of County funds (Forest
Fees) in the amount of approximately $2 million in the form of a loan to the
District, at the same rate of interest as the existing District bond amount
(4.75%). The County will pursue
repayment/recovery of the funds through legal action against Safeco and A. Miner
Delegate authorization to execute
the construction contract with Combs Construction to Board of Directors Chairman
· Delegate authorization to issue a Notice to Proceed to Coconino County Public Works Director John Dobrinski
August 1, 2005
bonding company, Safeco, has elected to takeover the project. This means that
the bonding company will hire a contractor to complete the project. The
District, Safeco and three potential contractors met on site on July 29 th
to review the plans prepared by the
District’s Engineer that show the remaining work to be done. Bids will be
filed with Safeco in mid-August.
next step is for the District and Safeco to reach an agreement on the details of
the takeover. As they say, “the devil’s in the details.” Once again we
have reiterated our strong desire to complete the project this year.
will keep you informed as the process progresses.
you for your patience!
July 20, 2005
County Improvement District Update July 20, 2005
Toho Tolani District Member:
wanted to provide an update on the Toho-Tolani County Improvement District. A
letter to the bonding company, Safeco Insurance, was sent out on June 22
demanding that the bonding company take action. The letter makes a demand on the
bonding company to perform in place of the contractor. The bonding company has
up to sixty days to act but the District’s attorneys requested an answer
within ten days. A site visit and meeting was held with the bonding company’s
legal and technical representatives on July 6. District staff spent five hours
reviewing the uncompleted areas of the project. To date, the surety has not
taken a position on the demand.
District made demand on the Miners for the unpaid assessments totaling
$40,934.34 on July 5. To date, the assessments have not been paid by the Miners.
Counsel is preparing a complaint on this element of the matter.
the event the bonding company chooses not to perform, the District will be
prepared to award a contract to complete the project this year. A bid package is
being prepared and will be released shortly. Two contractors have indicated an
interest in completing the work.
have received about 40 complaints from residents regarding uncompleted or poorly
completed work that is affecting their properties (mostly driveway access). We
are tracking those calls and forwarding the information to Public Works and
Entellus for review and a response.
also know that a couple of persons called with concerns about A. Miner still
working on the project. For safety reasons, his company was allowed to complete
the hand railing work on the retaining walls. This work was completed on June
District once again wants to emphasize that the District is taking every step to
complete the project this year. I appreciate your patience as we go through the
required legal process with the bonding company.
Supervisor, District 3 06Special Districts Coordinator
June 23, 2005
The following information was sent to Improvement District residents in Kachina Village by mail and posted on the County's website...
On June 9, the Board of Directors of the Toho-Tolani County Road Improvement District, located in Kachina Village, received a letter from the project contractor, A Miner Contracting, Inc., terminating its contract with the District. As a result, the Board conducted a hearing on June 21 to determine if the contractor was in default. Per State statute, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors also serves as the Board of Directors for the District.
It was determined at the hearing that A Miner Contracting, Inc. was in default for not diligently pursuing the project and, as a result, cannot complete the project by the agreed upon deadline of July 1, 2005. The Board then instructed its legal representative to make a demand on the performance bonding company to fulfill the contractor's obligation or pay the District to complete the work, which is approximately 60% complete.
District officials fully intend to complete the project this year and have asked the performance bonding company to expedite their decision process, which allows a 60 day period to decide which option they choose. The Board of Directors is simultaneously pursuing arrangements to secure another contractor to complete the work if the performance bonding company chooses not to complete it. Two highly qualified firms have expressed interest in the project and are capable of completing it this year.
District engineers are currently working with District residents on outstanding driveway and drainage issues related to the project. Residents who have unresolved construction issues involving driveways are asked to call Special Districts Coordinator Lucinda Andreani at (928) 779-6576.
June 21, 2005
The Toho-Tolani Board of Directors met today to consider how to proceed in the wake of the contractor (A. Miner Contracting, Inc.) abandoning the project.
The Board reviewed a letter from the contractor stating that they would resume work on the project under certain conditions... including a new completion date, reduced liability, and changing to a fixed price contract.
The Board determined that:..
The Board conducted a hearing as a quasi-judicial body under Section 48-924 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
The Board determined that the contractor was not diligently prosecuting the work he had contracted to do, and could not meet the looming completion deadline.
The Board declared the contractor in default and moved to make demand on the surety bond holder.
The surety holder has 60 days to respond. They may
The District is still pursuing steps to get pavement down this year... but that looks very much like a long shot.
June 14, 2005
The Toho/Tolani Improvement District's Board of Directors met earlier today to explore possible courses of action to pursue in the wake of the contractor's notice that he was pulling out of the contract.
The Board decided to proceed on two tracks... schedule a hearing under ARS 48-924, and to have an Improvement District representative contact the contractor to explore possible cures for the issues leading the contractor to pull out.
If the hearing actually happens, and the contractor is found to be in default, a different contractor would be brought in to complete the project. If this occurs, a substantial delay is anticipated. If A. Miner Contracting does stay on the project a shorter delay is anticipated.
Either way, the project will not be completed by July 1, 2005 as agreed to in the last revised schedule.
It appears to me that the billing/payment problems are between the District Engineer (Entellus Engineering, responsible for reviewing work done and authorizing payments) and the contractor.
The property owners just want the paving they paid for, and for the construction noise, dust, and activity to come to an end... soon.
June 14, 2005
A. Miner Contracting distributed a Notice To Property Owners today. It tells the contractor's side of the story. The text of that notice is recreated below.
Dear Property Owner:
We regret to notify you that A. Miner Contracting, Inc. has found it necessary to terminate its contract with the Toho-Tolani Improvement District as a result of the District's repeated and continued refusal to pay for the construction work we have performed. What that means to you is further delays in the completion of the road work in the South portion of Kachina Village and more disruption as a replacement contractor is found by the District.
Over the past 14 months, we at A. Miner Contracting have worked hard to provide you with the drainage improvements and roads we contracted to build. We have encountered many delays as a result of conflicts between various existing utilities and our work. These conflicts were not known to us and the District did not identify them on the plans for the project at the time we contracted for the work. Due to these many delays, the District refused to allow us to begin work in the South portion of the project as planned in September, 2004.
Since last year, we have been unable to get the Improvement District to release timely (and in many cases, any) payment for the work performed. Most recently, the District Engineers have significantly reduced our payment by refusing to pay for aggregate base materials and retaining walls that they privately admit have been provided by us. As a result, we have suffered strained relationships with our subcontractors, some of whom will not return to the project. We have financed the construction work with many hundreds of thousands of our own dollars in an effort to keep the project going, but can no longer afford to perform work when we are not getting paid.
We were scheduled to begin paving on Thursday, June 9, and were on schedule to finish the work by July 1, 2005, but the District's decision to once again cut our pay has left us with no ability to finance the placement of of that pavement. We sincerely regret that the people most inconvenienced by this will be you, the property owners. It is unfortunate that the District Engineers and representatives have forced us into this decision.
A. Miner Contracting, Inc.
June 13, 2005
Late last Wednesday the contractor (A. Miner Contracting) sent a letter to the Improvement district, apparently concerning some billing and payment disagreements... and notified the district that he was pulling out of the contract.
Rumor has it that the contractor will spend a week cleaning up and will then remove his equipment.
Several neighbors went to the county supervisor's offices this morning in an attempt to get information.
The results of that meeting were meager. Another ARS 48-928 hearing has been tentatively scheduled for 2:15 P.M. on June 21, 2005 in the Supervisors Auditorium.
Residents will be notified of that meeting by the county. It will not be a public meeting, but the public may attend and observe.
It is hoped that Improvement District officials and the other players will determine how to proceed during that meeting. The District's stated goal is to work with the bonding company and others to complete the project this year.
February 20, 2005
A hearing was held recently to (hopefully) resolve disputes between the Toho/Tolani Improvement district and the contractor, A. Miner Contracting, Inc.
The hearing was continued (suspended) when the district and the contractor reached a mediated agreement that the project would be substantially completed by July 1, 2005.
December 18, 2004
Has A. miner Contracting, Inc. diligently performed the paving and drainage work it contracted to perform in Kachina Village?
The improvement district's Board of Directors (county supervisors, wearing a different hat) demand to know the answer to that question.
The board will hold a public hearing to find the answer. At this hearing evidence will be submitted by representatives of the improvement district and the contractor.
The resulting actions may range from allowing the contractor to continue the work, to hiring a new contractor.
The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2005, in the Supervisors Meeting Room, 210 E. Cherry Ave., Flagstaff.
September, 20, 2004
Known officially as the Toho-Tolani County Improvement District, the Kachina Village paving project is scheduled to be completed this year.
The project has been under construction since early spring of 2004, and has fallen far behind schedule.
The reasons seem to be related more to a lack of contractor resources applied than to weather or an aggressive schedule.
During the spring and summer, all the big box culverts have been constructed across Pinon, Tolani, and Toho Trails on the south end of the Village.
Some drainage work, paving, and some other detail work has been done on the north end of the Village, but it's far from done.
Rumors are been circulating that the contractor, A. Miner Contracting, has been fired from the project.
According to Coconino County Project Engineer Dale Wegner, the rumor is not true. To revoke a contract after it has been let requires public hearings and a lot of legal complications.
The County is looking at possibly bringing in another contractor to do the paving and related work on the south-side roads and ditches. However, this action would require the agreement of A. Miner Contracting and its bonding agent.
So residents in the construction areas put up with the stinky exhaust, dust, and noise... in hopes of having paved roads in the future.
Standard Street Names and Numbering
March 14, 2004
Some Coconino County subdivisions have strange house numbering schemes... and several street names sound the same when spoken.
If you live in such an area, this means you can get a free pizza because the delivery driver can't find your house in 30 minutes.
Of course emergency personnel have the same problem.
The County Supervisors have adopted an ordinance that will result in standardized street names and numbering outside Flagstaff and other cities.
The standardized street names and house numbers will fit into an enhanced 911 emergency response system, resulting in quicker response by the Sheriff, fire departments, and medical personnel..
The standard address requirements will be implemented on a community by community basis, starting with communities that are currently under development. This do-it-correctly-from-the beginning approach makes sense.
Only addresses that do not comply with the standards will be changed.
Pinewood adopted standardized addresses a few years ago, so they should not see more changes. Mountainaire and Kachina Village could see standardized addresses in 2006.
Kachina Village Forest Health Project
July 3, 2004
The Southwest Forest Products Company has finished a thinning project near Kachina Village and Forest Highlands.
The purpose of this 1,968 acre project is to reduce hazardous fuels, decreasing the risk of high intensity fires and improving forest health in general.
As you can see in this photo of an as yet un-thinned site, huge numbers of small trees have been allowed to grow unchecked for many years.
This non-management of our forest has resulted in crowded, stunted trees, and an unhealthy forest. The danger of a serious wildfire racing through all this fuel and into our communities was very high.
Until now the Forest Service has been blocked in attempts to reduce the fuel load around forest communities. Thankfully, they were able to work with environmental groups to allow this project to go forward.
"This decision is good news for Flagstaff and especially for people who live in or own property in Kachina Village and Forest Highlands," said Terri Marceron, District Ranger for the Mormon Lake Ranger District. "Thinning predominantly smaller trees will make the forests there healthier, it will go a long way toward putting wildfire on the ground instead of in tree tops, and it will do these things while considering wildlife habitat."
This photo shows a park-like scene of a thinned hillside.
It appears that only some pine trees were thinned, leaving aspens and oaks for the deer and squirrels.
This thinning project is now completed with good results. After thinning, grasses have had an opportunity to grow among the trees, which seems to please the elk.
Residents of Forest Lakes and Kachina Village are also very pleased with the results.
Several related projects are in the works. When completed, these projects will make our communities safer.
Copyright © 2004-2006 Fred Doyle. All Rights Reserved.