Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
November 19, 2014 5:48 p.m.
With almost no discussion, Fernandina Beach City Commissioners last night authorized the City Manager to negotiate a contract in an amount not to exceed $47,375 to Brance Diversified, Inc. to engineer and construct the Marina Welcome Center deck. Only Mayor Ed Boner, the lone dissenting vote, expressed concerns over awarding a bid in this amount when only one bid had submitted for the project.
Boner quizzed Deputy City Manager Marshall McCrary on how the bid was evaluated for cost per square foot. McCrary responded that in addition to meeting building code requirements, there were specific requirements, such as matching the existing design and materials of the building. Those factors and an awning aspect drove the price to some degree, he said. The project was within budget, McCrary said, adding that it was a lump sum bid so he could not look at costs of specific items. McCrary said, “If there is someone out there who thinks he could have done it cheaper, I wish they had made a bid. We advertised widely and tried to get as much interest as we could.”
Boner said that he hoped the city was making local contractors aware of bid opportunities. He said that local contractors don’t always watch for bids. McCrary explained that the city has a local vendor database and that when the city announces bid opportunities, they direct solicit businesses in the database to specific bids.
The Mayor asked about the possibility of rebidding. McCrary said that the FBCC could so direct if they were not satisfied with one bid and wanted to try for more.
Commissioner Johnny Miller asked if the deck had been reviewed by the Historic District Council (HDC). McCrary said that since there are no drawings to review at this time, the proposed product will need to be reviewed by the HDC and the Technical Review Committee (TRC) before it can be built.
Vice Mayor Sarah Pelican moved approval of the item and was seconded by Commissioner Charlie Corbett. The item was approved with a unanimous vote.
According to back up material provided with this agenda, funds in the amount of $47,375 are currently available in the city’s Marina Improvements Account. The Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) will contribute $20,275 to this project, although their formal commitment has not yet been approved.
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.