Howard Lake Herald, August 10, 1998

Howard Lake reaches settlement with RCM on well project


The Howard Lake City Council and Rieke Carroll Muller Associates, Inc. (RCM) came to a settlement July 30 on the issue of the well that never produced water, said City Engineer Brad DeWolf, Tuesday.

RCM, the engineering firm that directed the well drilling project, and representatives of the council met to work out an agreement that would eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit.

Said DeWolf, "These types of lawsuits typically drag out at great expense to both parties, and this settlement was acceptable to both sides."

The settlement calls for a trade of checks, which is really a bookkeeping thing, he said.

According to the settlement agreement, the city will pay RCM $8,463.19, which represents the balance due under RCM's engineering services contract on the well number five project.

RCM agrees to pay the city $10,000 for a release and hold harmless provision that states that RCM has no remaining obligations under its engineering contract other than the preparation of a revised final statement.

In a letter to Mayor Mark Custer, Sam Claassen, president of RCM, said he felt their company had given up too much on this settlement, but he thought perhaps the city felt the same way.

Claassen said he felt all parties came out winners in the settlement, however.

He said he appreciated Custer's statement that the city did not want to burn any bridges or make any enemies with this settlement, and assured the city that RCM felt the same.

Councilman Shelly Reddeman said, "I really felt bad for three of the subcontractors that really took a hit with equipment they said they couldn't resell. But we got it settled."

In the rest of his project report, DeWolf told the council that Mn/DOT told him the city can go ahead and award the bid for the parking lot projects in order to keep the project moving.

"I recommend the council accept the bid from Buffalo Bituminous," he said.

The project was estimated at $250,000 by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) engineers, and the low bid was $253,836.98.

This project includes the south side parking lot and repairs to the block 18 lot, he said, and should start in about a month.

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