The Town of Witless Bay is finally moving to settle its remaining bill with Dexter Construction for the work done on Southside Track last year, but it ended up deciding by accident how much of it it will pay.
Finance committee chairperson Lucy Carew moved that the Town pay the invoice, but hold back the amount Witless Bay had to spend to rectify a problem with a well that was allegedly caused by the construction.
The well damage was one of a number of complaints made be residents of the road after Dexter took on the job. The amount remaining unpaid on its contract was $26,601. The cost of the well work, Carew said, was $12,655.
"We're still saying that they affected the well," Carew said. "So, we're going to take that off and that will bring it down to $13,936."
Carew said council should also decide on whether to add interest to that amount.
Councillor Fraser Paul said he would move an amendment to Carew’s motion to pay no interest. Councillor Vince Swain disagreed.
"I make the motion to pay the whole thing," said Swain. "If you listen to their complaints and their reason why they are covered from the well, and all that, I think they'll win in court and we'd be throwing more money away going to a lawyer."
Councillor Chris Brinston agreed. "They have a lot more lawyers than we do and it may cost us more money in the long run to fight it than to just pay it off," he argued.
Paul said Dexter admitted to causing some of the problems on the street.
Brinston wasn't convinced that would matter in court. "They say there was no test done on that well beforehand and we cannot prove whether that water was contaminated before or not," he said. "I think we're not going to win it in court and I think we're going to pay out more money in lawyers' fees."
Swain allowed the company did not complete the contract in full with curb work left undone. And in the area of the well, the road is left sloped the wrong way, he added.
With that Mayor Rene Estrada called the vote on Carew's motion and the two amendments to the motion, one by Paul to pay the $13,936 with no interest, the other by Swain to pay the bill in full. Put to a vote, each motion failed to get enough support for passage.
"We're going to have to pay them something," said Carew. "We've gone around this so many times now. But if they were going to take us to court, they would have taken us to court a while ago."
Town Clerk Geraldine Caul ruled that because Carew's motion and the two amendments failed, the Town was left in the position of having no choice but to pay the original bill in full.