The city of Vandalia has some significant projects on the table, including the extension of water and sewer lines at the western Interstate 70 interchange and improvements to the downtown business district. And there are signs of other projects planned in the future.
It’s not the best time to have an obvious split among city officials about who should provide engineering services. Based on comments and votes at recent city council meetings, there is such a split.
Mayor Rick Gottman presented to the council a proposal to have someone other than the city’s regular consulting engineers complete the work necessary for the renewal of a sewer treatment plant permit. That proposal failed in a 5-3 vote, with some aldermen stating that they prefer to have HMG Engineers continue to do that work.
In recent months, several aldermen have made comments that indicate that they are dissatisfied with the Carlyle firm.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Gottman challenged some of HMG’s work on the downtown infrastructure and streetscape project. That’s not the first time that he and some aldermen have pointed a finger at the firm for problems with the project.
Those votes and comments are indications that basically half of the city council has lost confidence in the firm, or has some underlying problems with it. At the same time, the other half continues to be outspoken in support of HMG.
What’s not most important, from our perspective, is which side is right and which is wrong. Our belief is that if this division continues, pending and future projects that require engineering services could suffer.
For our city to succeed as it continues its commitment to economic development, everyone needs to be on the same page. That’s apparently not the case when it comes to engineering services.