VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - A southern Indiana city pays off some bills on a project that never got off paper.
The Vincennes City Council reluctantly agreed to appropriate the money for engineering work on an overpass project pushed by a former city administration.
The council contends the claims were for a multi-million dollar project they didn't want.
Vincennes motorists have fought heavy train traffic through the 6th Street corridor for years.
Former Mayor Al Baldwin's solution was to build an overpass over the tracks and he even hired the engineering firm BLN to work on it.
The problem came when the city council said it didn't want the project.
"We tried to shut it down as quick as we could, and he wanted to keep going on with it." said Vincennes City Councilman Scott Brown, "and that's somewhat frustrating when you know the project is not going to become a reality. You want to stop the project, stop the cost."
The project may have been dead, but the costs kept mounting until the city was left with a $110,000 engineering fee.
Council members say this mistake is in part due to state law, because under Indiana law the mayor and board of works are the ones who sign the contracts, but it's the council who has to pay the bills.
"The mayor can tie you up into some long term financial commitments that you might not necessarily be in favor of," said Brown.
Despite the council's distaste, the overdue overpass bills will now be paid.
"Hopefully, it's the final chapter in the overpass and the engineering work that was done on that project," said Brown.
An overpass that doesn't look like it will ever come to pass in Vincennes.
Because of a series of hefty engineering bills from consulting firms the Vincennes City Council has also announced plans to hire a city engineer.
The community has not had an engineer for the last 5 years.
The council has appropriated $70,000 for the position.
Officials believe they will save that much money or more by having work done in house and by eliminating fees from larger contract projects.
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