Photo by Daniel J. Chacon
Colorado Springs Councilwoman Angela Dougan vehemently opposed a proposal to spend taxpayer money on a rooftop mural touting the city as the home of Olympic champions.
She was overruled 8-1, but that hasn’t stopped Dougan from asking questions — a lot of questions — about the project.
On Monday afternoon, Dougan sent Mayor Steve Bach an email asking for help in getting answers to questions from her constituents.
The email landed in city spokesman John Leavitt’s inbox, and Leavitt answered almost all the questions by 10:32 a.m. the next day.
Among the questions: Did the city have a contract, apparently with the muralist, that spelled out all the details?
“No,” Leavitt responded.
“We used our sole-source system for professional services to allow for a quicker response. We have a ‘not to exceed’ estimate from (Vladimir Jones) for the mural,” he wrote.
Dougan also wanted to know whether the city had the ability to say the mural didn’t meet expectations and not pay for the work.
“We believe the work has and will meet our standards,” Leavitt responded.
“We have no contractual ability to not pay.”
“Are you saying that we have no contract, but we’re still obligated to pay for the work?” The Gazette asked Leavitt today in an email.
“We received permission from the contracting office to use Kim Polomka (through Vladimir Jones) as a single source professional service because of the unique nature of his business (outdoor murals). We did not negotiate a contract per se, we accepted a ‘not to exceed’ estimate from VJ for completing the mural. Informally, we have emphasized our desire to have the mural completed as soon as possible, unfortunately recent weather patterns have prevented the artist from completing the mural to date,” Leavitt wrote.
“We are pleased with the progress to date and are confident in the design oversight being provided. We look forward to a completed mural that declares our pride in having the U.S. Olympic Committee headquartered in our City,” he wrote.
“We would hope you would share that vision,” Leavitt added.
Here’s the entire Q & A between Dougan and Leavitt:
How much is the actual cost of the painter? The painter, Mr. Kim Polomka, will bill us no more than $19,000 for materials and labor to complete the mural.
How much for Vladimir Jones? VJ will bill us no more than $2,500 to oversee production.
(Vladimir Jones has decided to waive that fee in an effort to allay some of the controversy surrounding the project.)
Do we pay if painter does not adhere to design or will he fix at no cost? Graffetti? (sic) VJ is making sure the painter adheres to their design. Any subsequent fixes will be the responsibility of the City.
Time line on finishing? The latest estimate is to finish by the end of next week.
Did we go out to bid on this and what were the other bids? We did not go out to bid because of the super-short time frame. The USOC offered to pay for the design but basically insisted we use their contractors. Given the fact they had final say on the design, we felt it was expedient to accept their offer and get the work done as soon as possible.
What type of paint is being used to help with longevity of sign? I don’t know what type of paint is being used, but it has been chosen by Mr. Polomka, who is an outdoor muralist by trade.
Have we received the private money for the welcome signs in the 33,000 fund? No, all the private funds are being funneled directly to the Partnership for Community Design.
Have we paid anyone yet? No, no one has been paid yet, although we have receive invoices for the temporary signage produced for us by a local sign shop.
Do we have a contract with all the details? No, we used our sole-source system for professional services to allow for a quicker response. We have a “not to exceed” estimate from VJ for the mural.
What did the USOC actually donate? The USOC donated design costs for the mural, the billboards and the soon-to-be completed Greener Corners recycling bin signs.
What is the proportions of the actual artwork and the proportion of the roof that has been painted? I am checking with the vendor and will give you a response as soon as possible.
(In a later email, Leavitt said the roof is 400 feet by 48 feet and that the mural is intended to cover the entire area.)
Where there any promises made that this mural could be done by July 4th and in turn higher cost for the painter? No, we received approval from Council to move forward on June 14. There was one week of roof repair and priming that was done. The subsequent delays are all weather related.
Who decided to pay for sign greeters out of general fund tax payer dollars? I proposed the idea to Mr. Cox, the chief of staff, and he provided the go ahead.
Do we have the ability to say “does not meet standards” with end product and not pay? We believe the work has and will meet our standards. We have no contractual ability to not pay.
Do we know actual life expectancy in writing? No, the artist cannot guarantee the lifetime of the rooftop mural, but other murals he has done has lasted for years. We believe it will last for about a year.