Flint doesn’t renew contract for Rowe firm

Jacob Carah
The Detroit News

Flint — Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s office confirmed Thursday that Rowe Professional Service’s general contract with the city was not renewed.

The Flint-based engineering firm does water system work for the city in addition to an initial $500,000 contract from the state to replace about 30 lead service lines in the city in the first phase of Weaver’s FAST Start Program. In early June, the city requested bids for the next phase of her estimated $55 million pipe removal program to help alleviate lead contamination in the city’s water system.

Kristin Moore, Weaver’s public relations director, confirmed the contract with Rowe was not renewed as of last Friday.

“At this time, the City of Flint has decided not to renew its contract with Rowe Engineering,” Moore said in a statement.

“City leaders have begun the process of hiring a city engineer to lend their expertise on various projects in the city moving forward,” Moore said, adding that the “change should not affect the FAST Start initiative to replace lead tainted pipes.”

Rowe Vice president Rick Freeman said in a statement it did not have an automatic renewal clause. But the company said it still anticipates doing work for the city.

“As the largest engineering company headquartered in Flint, we look forward to continuing our work with the City of Flint and the citizens it serves,” Freeman said.

The city government indicated it plans to continue working with Rowe on future projects.

“While city officials decided not to renew the contract Rowe Engineering had in place,” the city said, “Rowe and other local engineering firms will be solicited for work on various projects in Flint in the future.”

Flint has solicited bids for the next phase of its estimated $55 million program to replaced lead and galvanized steel service lines in hundreds of homes in the city. The city plans to use $2 million in state aid for the program and will determine the number of pipes to replace after deciding on the winning bids.

But the mayor has asked to meet with contractors because the bids submitted last month “were much higher than expected,” according to the city.

Jacob Carah is a freelance reporter for The Detroit News.