MOUNT PLEASANT — Claude Lois, Foxconn project director for Mount Pleasant, will be sticking around for at least another two years.
On Monday, the Village Board voted unanimously to renew a two-year contract with Kapur and Associates, for which Lois works, at a cost of $24,000 per month — an increase of nearly 25%, with an additional $150 per hour for work done after 40 hours a week.
The previous contract cost $20,000 per month and it had no additional charge for any work done after 40 hours.
Village President Dave DeGroot emphasized that the money goes to Kapur and not directly to Lois.
“For (Lois’) part, he was putting in 50- and 60-hour weeks and he was not charging us anything for those additional hours,” DeGroot said. “I think what he’s asking for, the increase, is very reasonable.”
DeGroot said compared to other professional services “it is still a bargain,” and other firms might charge more than $200 per hour for the work Lois is doing for the village.
“From my perspective, we’re still getting a bargain with Claude’s work (and) his work ethic,” DeGroot said. “I think all he’s looking for is a nice pat on the head and a ‘job well done.’ ”
Trustee Gary Feest, who has expressed issue with the additional $150 per hour charge for work done after 40 hours, said he voted for the contract basically due to lack of a better option.
“I wasn’t a big fan when there wasn’t really a negotiation on this contract. It was presented to us as a ‘take it or leave it’ as far as I could tell,” Feest said. “Two years — we don’t know what’s going to happen in two years with Foxconn, but we do have out clauses on this contract … so if we don’t feel that we’re getting the value from Kapur and Claude, there are ways to remedy that situation.”
Feest encouraged Village Administrator Maureen Murphy to “keep an eye on all the costs and make sure that we are getting the value that we deserve.”
Village transfers land
Also Monday, the village approved the transfer of two parcels of land, totaling about 10 acres, in Area I of the Wisconn Valley development to Foxconn.
Area I is located north to south between Highway 11 and KR, and west to east between the East Frontage Road and Highway H.
Alan Marcuvitz, the attorney working with the village on acquiring and transferring land to Foxconn, said these properties would have been transferred last year but they “weren’t ready.”
The remaining land that the village has acquired for Foxconn that has not been transferred over is also not ready for the company, Marcuvitz said.
“(Foxconn) has not asked for them yet,” Marcuvitz said. “And we are asking to see plans for what is to be done there so we’re not sitting on vacant land.”
Lois said part of the village’s collateral on the project is the land that has not been conveyed over to Foxconn.
“We’re transferring land as they need it,” Lois said. “One of the biggest things we have in (the development agreement) as far as collateral is the land that they pay for and are paying for through a special assessment.”
The village also imposed a special assessment on the newly transferred parcels. In total, the village special assessment for all of the Foxconn land in Area I is worth about $90 million.
DeGroot said another reason why the village has not transferred over all the land to Foxconn at this point is to prevent them from flipping the land and selling it for a profit.
“From my perspective, we’re still getting a bargain with Claude’s work (and) his work ethic.” Dave DeGroot, Mount Pleasant village president, speaking about the village’s contracted Foxconn project manager