Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 13, 2017 1:00 a.m.
At the close of a short committee meeting of city staff and airport consultants before many onlookers in the Fernandina Beach City Hall Conference Room on March 10, 2017, City Manager Dale Martin announced that he was exercising his authority to reject all bids submitted under ITB 17-02 to build a general aviation terminal/welcome center at the municipal airport. Martin based his decision on an analysis of the bids provided by Andrew Holesko, Passero Associates project manager and meeting participant.
All bids came in significantly higher than the anticipated $2.4-2.6M cost of the project with the low bid at $3.685M. In reviewing the bid packages, Holesko said that there were bid irregularities with each of the submissions. Either information was not provided in certain cases, or some items were not separated out from the overall base bid, making it difficult to compare the submissions. Under the circumstances, Holesko said that he did not think value engineering the low bid would be fair to the other bidders.
Martin said that the project would be rebid following discussion with city commissioners, the Airport Advisory Commission, city staff and airport consultants. The city will look for savings on the existing design in rebidding the project. He said that he anticipates issuing a new bid that will reflect some changes to bring responses in better alignment with the city’s desire to keep the project in the cost range of $2.4-2.6M. Martin reiterated that no city ad valorem taxes (General Fund) will be used for the project. But he allowed that the city would like to take some time to reevaluate other funding sources and design components.
In the meantime, Holesko said that Passero will contact the bidders on ITB 17-02 to inform them of the cancellation and explain any bid irregularities encountered with their responses.
Holesko expressed optimism that the rebid can be handled expeditiously, expressing sensitivity to the needs of 8 Flags Aviation, the new FBO. He said the rebid would extend the bid award by 60 days and construction by 30 days. He said that he believes that ribbon cutting for the new facility can be anticipated for March 1, 2018.
Holesko told the committee that he hoped they would reconvene in 60 days to review the new bids.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.