City, contractor settle spat over Savannas Trail

For two years, the City of Port St. Lucie and the contractor hired to build the Savannas Recreation Area Trail have been squabbling over nearly $153,000. That fight has finally ended with a settlement agreement.

The city is expected to pay Tan Construction $70,750 to fulfill the terms of a mediation agreement – less than half of what Tan argued it was still owed for the trail, which opened in 2016.

“It should be noted that staff in the Public Works Department and Procurement Management Department have indicated that they were very satisfied with the quality of the work that Tan Construction completed,” reads the city’s documentation for the settlement.

The City Council unanimously – and without discussion – approved the proposed agreement. Had the council rejected the recommendation, the city and Tan Construction would have been due in court on Nov. 7 for trial.

There, the city would have risked the possibility of paying Tan in full plus the company’s attorney’s fees.

No representatives from Tan Construction spoke during the agenda item at Monday night’s council meeting.

The dispute between the two parties hinged on whether or not Tan Construction’s extra work was accounted for in change orders, or above and beyond the scope as laid out by the city.

Tan was hired to perform “clearing and grubbing, excavation, embankment, concrete work, sodding, signage, landscape and all the work needed to provide a trail eight feet wide and approximately 1.3 miles long,” the lawsuit stated.

The trail starts at the end of Camp Ground Road and treks north to the FEC Railroad track.

Tan argued in the court record that the initial survey for the work grossly underestimated the scope of work needed, which affected the company’s ability to provide a proper estimate.

For example, the company points to the needed conversion of a planned walkway bridge to a sidewalk “because there was no water-crossing at the location.”

Tan encouraged the city to perform a new survey once the dense stand of trees was cleared. The city, according to court records on both sides, declined the survey.

For Port St. Lucie’s part, it argued that any changes needed would be and were handled through change orders approved by both parties.

The city argued that any of the work Tan should have been paid for was done so through the various change orders – “any such additional or extra work is outside the express, written terms of the contract,” the city’s defense document read.

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