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Brainerd City Council: City won't recover $7,000 overpayment

The city is choosing not to pursue legal action to recover a $7,000 overpayment to contractor Tom's Backhoe Service, the Brainerd City Council decided Monday night.

The city is choosing not to pursue legal action to recover a $7,000 overpayment to contractor Tom's Backhoe Service, the Brainerd City Council decided Monday night.

The accidental overpayment was part of a mediated settlement with the company following work on a 2012 Southeast 19th Street project. The city communicated with the contractor on the oversight and requested the overpayment be returned, although the contractor did not agree to do so.

Discussions on possible legal action in closed session with City Attorney Eric Quiring on April 20 led the council to make Monday's decision.

"It's not quite enough money to pursue it," said council member Gabe Johnson in the committee meeting. "It's a loss of taxpayer money to pursue it any further."

Council member Dave Pritschet said he was making the motion to recommend no action from the committee to council "regrettably."

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"It doesn't taste good," Pritschet said. "It leaves a little bitter taste in your mouth."

Pritschet said with the potential costs of appeals and his sense the case would not necessarily be a "slam dunk" for the city, the decision seemed prudent.

Council member Mary Koep was the lone vote in opposition to the action.

"In my view, we have a real obligation to make every possible attempt to recoup that," Koep said. "This is the people's money, and we're not demanding accountability of any kind."

Council President Gary Scheeler said he felt there was confusion during mediation, so he would support taking no action to recoup the money.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Related Topics: BRAINERD
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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