Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 5, 2022
At the January 4, 2022 Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) Regular Meeting, KBT Contracting Corp. protested Invitation to Bid (ITB) 21-16 (Fernandina Beach Fire Station #2) for reasons identified in their December 7, 2021, correspondence to the City, citing 6 alleged violations of City Policy in the recommendation to award the bid to Blackwater Construction Services, Gainesville, FL.
The FBCC earlier approved the design and solicitation to bid the construction of a combination Fire Station and Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility at the Municipal Airport. The proposed building consists of a 10,750 square-foot pre-engineered metal building, with four bays, and support spaces with a meeting room, offices, kitchen area, fitness room, day room, bunk rooms, and bathrooms. Site work including site preparation, utilities work, roadwork, landscaping, irrigation, fencing, training tower, electrical systems and other associated tasks are included in the costs. The Fire Station will also serve the surrounding community.
Passero Associates and the City Engineer reviewed the 5 bids submitted and recommended approval of a construction contract for the combination Fire Station and Aircraft ARFF facility totaling $4,739,217.00, to Blackwater Construction Services, conditional upon bid protest resolution.
Blackwater’s bid was the low bid by $500,000.
Rebecca Tiimmons, KBT President, presented her company’s protest to the FBCC during the FBCC’s January 4, 2022 Regular Meeting. She disagreed with the response from the City dated December 16, 2021, which concluded that KBT’s issues were minor irregularities or variations to the Invitation to Bid.
On a 3-2 vote (Vice Mayor Len Kreger and Mayor Mike Lednovich dissenting) the FBCC rejected the bid protest.
The FBCC went on to award ITB 21-16 to Blackwater to construct a combination fire station and aircraft rescue and firefighting facility at the City Airport in Fiscal Year 2021/22 by approving Resolution 2022-3 on a 4-1 vote (Vice Mayor Len Kreger dissenting).
In separate action at the same meeting, the FBCC unanimously approved Resolution 2022-02, authorizing the issuance of a capital improvement revenue note in the principal amount of not to exceed $6M to finance construction of the firehouse and Community Redevelopment Area roadway improvements on Alachua Street at the intersection with Front Street. The City’s Financial Advisor and City staff recommended accepting the proposal from First Federal Bank.
This debt issuance and associated transactions will be recorded in the Airport and CRA funds. Current and future Airport and CRA budgets will include all principal and interest payments.
It is anticipated that work will begin soon on the new fire station.