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Floor problems persist
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MONROE - City officials are awaiting a response from Milwaukee-based KPH Environmental and Construction that explains how the contractors plan to fix flooring problems that arose during Monroe City Hall renovations.

A project slated to remove asbestos from beneath floor tiles throughout the building and replace the existing tiles has come to an abrupt halt after flooring materials in various parts of the building refused to stick to the cement beneath them. KPH, the company hired to remove asbestos from City Hall, is still baffled as to why the floor adhesive sticks tiles to cement in some areas of the building while in other spots the glue simply disappears.

Issues which cropped up during the planned six weeks of renovation and have persisted beyond that time frame have continued to displace workers who have offices in the building, from administration to the clerk to engineering, while materials sit in basement storage or packed tightly into two trailers outside of City Hall. Staff members have been out of the building since work began in early September.

City Administrator Phil Rath said a return date could vary from two weeks to a number of months.

"I honestly do not know at this moment," Rath said.

The move affects residents who need to visit city offices as well. Currently, the city is accepting property tax payments at the police department, which is connected to City Hall.

Monroe Common Council held a special meeting Dec. 27 to discuss the issue with KPH representatives. Previously, council members declared KPH to be in breach of contract. A request for a $163,000 change order was rejected by aldermen after a discussion between KPH Contractor Dan Scharf and council members Dec. 20. Originally, the project was supposed to be done for an estimated total of $150,000. Both sides agreed to meet in order to negotiate a successful outcome for the project.

Council was presented with two options: either the basic application of a material called VersaShield on top of the cement that would allow the tiles to stick to it for $43,000, or a provided adhesive system and reinstallation of flooring with additional guarantees for $56,000. Rath said a third option was presented for a cement core test to be performed for $15,000 in addition to either of the two options.

Though Scharf recommended the epoxy solution rather than the VersaShield due to some concerns regarding double-sided tape and the lack of current adhesion, in the end council rejected all plans. Instead, the city sent out a notice to KPH asking the company to verify through an independent company that asbestos cleanup was performed correctly and to finish the project as proposed in the agreement between the company and the city.

Rath estimated because of the holiday, the letter may arrive today or Thursday. KPH and the company's insurance for the project have five days to respond to the requests. After answers are received, council will convene once more to discuss how to proceed with the project. If it finds KPH to be unsuitable to continue the work, the process of hiring a new company to finish the job may begin.