This week KAST News published a story, "City To Send Phone Company The Bill" about a decision made by the Astoria City Council to pursue CenturyLink for the additional expense the city incurred when the phone company failed to respond to requests for information on their buried lines beneath the area of the CSO project downtown. City Project Engineer Cindy Moore told the council that her office had made repeated requests for information that received no response. This resulted in an additional $35,000 bill that staff suggested should be recovered from CenturyLink since they appeared to fail to meet the requirements of thir franchaise agreement with the city.
This morning CenturyLink responded:
"CenturyLink values our partnership with the City of Astoria and we continue to work diligently with their staff to actively resolve any outstanding issues related to the 11th street CSO sewer project. Our mutual goal is to ensure a successful completion of the project as quickly as possible. CenturyLink leadership met with Ken Cook, Public Works Director for Astoria, to provide a written plan to address any issues several weeks ago and all parties agreed to an action plan. CenturyLink will continue to remain responsive to the City's requests and will continue to work with the City to complete this project and future projects."
KAST News then contacted Ken Cook who confirmed that he had been the one to request that meeting with CenturyLink senior management after a local manager for the company had failed to respond to the city requests for information. He confirmed that while that meeting will help prevent further issues with CenturyLink it happened after the fact. Because the contractor lacked information construction crews broke into an underground vault on 8th street containing old, but still active phone lines that were damaged and cut service to that area of town including the County office building on 8th and exchange. Moore had told the council it was a huge mess of wires that the phione company has since decided to abandon. When asked if that was the extend of the damage she said it was the worst of the lot but that there were several other issues throughout the project as a result of CenturyLink's failure to respond. Staff determined the actual additional cost at $35,000 and brought that to the city council as a pay adjustment to Tapani, the project contractor with the suggestion that the council approve an effort to make CenturyLink pay the city back. City Attorney Blair Heningsgaard was of the opinion that CentryLink had violated the terms of their franchise.
CenturyLink spokesman Martin Flynn told KAST news "We might have done a better job with this".