“I have looked into the matter of payment for the first mall project and I have been informed that certain required information was not submitted by the city with the claim for payment,” Ford wrote. “This information is required under the job specifications and without it being submitted no payment can be made by the county. Once the foregoing is presented to the county’s Department of Public Works, they can process the voucher for payment on phase one and we can move forward with phase two of the project.”
Schnirman countered with a letter to Ford on July 23, saying that the city had submitted all the required information to the county a year ago.
In a May 3, 2012, letter to Shila Shah Gavnoudias, the commissioner of the county’s Department of Public Works, Jim LaCarrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works, called on the county to appropriate the remaining funds so the city could begin the project’s second phase, which includes improvements to a parking mall along the 600 block of Park Avenue, one of the city’s most dangerous areas for pedestrians. The installation of an intermediate traffic signal is planned, to help pedestrians in an area where city officials said there have been a number of fatalities.
In an email to Ford last April, county officials said they had responded to 90 percent of the city’s design plans “with some comments,” and said that if the city had made the recommended changes, it could move ahead with the project. The officials also said that the total cost of the project had been reduced from $1.7 million to $1.5 million when the city used a portion of the funds for emergency sewer repairs following a 2011 water main break on Monroe Boulevard, adjacent to the parking mall.
City officials said their plans are now “100 percent complete” after they received the county’s feedback, but they have yet to find out whether the funding has been appropriated by the Legislature.
“We sent over 90 percent of the completed drawings last May, they made minor revisions and our plans have been ready to go,” LaCarrubba said. “… If the county was missing documentation on payment for phase one, why haven’t they reached out to me in the 14 months since we’ve submitted the payment requests?”