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Council wants to move on municipal complex

The Demopolis City Council agreed on Thursday to ask Cincinnati Insurance Company of Dothan to provide $78,000 as a partial payment for damage done to the city’s municipal complex on Jan. 29.

Cincinnati Insurance is the insurance adjuster handling the claim after a Dairyman’s Supply Company truck crashed into the front of the building on Washington Street. The building is in the process of being renovated, and the accident has altered the work schedule.

“The Cincinnati Insurance adjuster has talked only with the contractor, not any city officials or the project architect,” said Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson. “On March 18, the council requested the mayor and (councilman) Jack Cooley to call Cincinnati Insurance for the purpose of getting the claim settled.

“On March 29, the call was made to Len Rising — I believe his title is regional claims adjuster — and on March 30, we received a preliminary estimate.”

“The last information that I got from the insurance company was the contractor had presented to the insurance company all of the estimates that had been compiled for the repair damage from every subcontractor involved,” said Brian Brooker, the project manager for Ellis Architects, the architect firm involved with the complex’s renovations.

“There were two items that the insurance company wasn’t happy about the cost of and went back and forth with the contractor. As of today (Thursday), they were within $1,000 total of each other in agreeing to the claim. The subcontractors had lowered their price some so they could maintain the warranty on the project. My understanding is that the insurance company keeps going back and forth and lowering the price. We are ready to go when they can release it.”

Cooley recommended that the council act on the offer received from the insurance company on March 30 to provide $78,000 as a partial payment and for the city to not sign a release until the city is ensured that it is covered in full, with all warranties in place.

“Their obligation is to bring that building back to the same status it was in before the truck tore it up,” he said. “That simply means that we will take the money and we will start the repair work, but the claim is over; it’s not settled. Accepting that money does not relinquish our right to turn it over to an attorney, but we can get that money and get started.”

The council approved the motion unanimously.