Livingston Parish won’t pay an engineering firm $453,000 for road plans despite a resolution by the Livingston Parish Council instructing him to do so, Parish President Mike Grimmer said.
“I will not pay that bill,” Grimmer said in an interview. “I will only pay what we owe.”
The plans done by Alvin Fairburn Associates are for the parish’s ongoing road resurfacing program.
If Grimmer does not sign the check, Fairburn plans to file a mandamus action asking a court to force Grimmer to pay the bill approved by the council for the work authorized by the council, Julie J. Baxter, attorney for Fairburn, said late Friday.
Fairburn’s contract is with the council, which has the authority to instruct Grimmer to sign checks paying its bills, she said.
“He doesn’t get to decide whether he likes what the council did or not,” Baxter said.
The parish’s home-rule charter gives the council the power to instruct the parish president to pay a bill, and he has no veto power on such a matter, Baxter said.
Grimmer said he never gave Fairburn written authorization to do the work, as is required by contract, and the firm created more plans than the parish needs at this time.
He said he won’t pay for the engineering on $11.4 million in roadwork, because the parish doesn’t have the money to do that work and he didn’t authorize it.
Eddie Aydell, chief of engineering for Fairburn, said the council authorized engineering plans for the $11.4 million in work the same way it has done for years, and Grimmer knew the work was ongoing.
The engineering firm had no way of knowing that the parish didn’t have $11.4 million to spend on more roadwork, Aydell said.
Fairburn’s contract is with the council, and the company will continue to work with the council to get roads resurfaced, Aydell said.
“We won’t hold the taxpayers hostage,” to get paid, he said.
Grimmer said he will authorize and pay engineering fees for the $3.5 million in road work on which the council is ready to seek bids.
He estimated that the engineering cost is about $170,000 on that work for this year’s road resurfacing program.
The council voted Tuesday night to instruct Grimmer to pay the bill within five days.
Councilmen Jimmie McCoy, Eddie Wagner, Ronnie Sharp, Randy Rushing and A.C. “Buddy” Mincey voted for that motion while Councilwoman Cindy Wale abstained, saying she wasn’t ready to vote without first hearing from Grimmer, who left the meeting before the motion was made.