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The Dripby Mark Reutter5:47 pmDec 7, 20110

Inside City Hall: Contractor protests his own bid, 34 cost overruns for new homeless shelter

The Board of Estimates routinely rejects protests by contractors who say their proposal is cheaper than a bid recommended to the board.

But today the panel heard an unusual tale from a contractor protesting his own bid as too low. The BOE voted to allow the contractor to withdraw the item – then approved a bid that was $1.1 million higher.

Lane Construction Corp. was all set to be awarded the contract to rebuild the badly deteriorated Sinclair Lane Bridge across CSX Railroad in northeast Baltimore.

But a lawyer for Lane filed a formal protest against the award, telling the board that the company had made a clerical error – dropped a zero during a crucial calculation – while tallying up their submitted bid of $4,617,047.50.

In short, the bid would have produced a loss (or not enough profit) for Lane. And if approved by the board, the bid would be legally binding.

But instead of taking that course, the BOE followed the recommendation of Jamie Kendrick, deputy director of the city Department of Transportation (DOT). Kendrick said his office accepted Lane’s explanation of an inadvertent error.

As a result, the contract went to Concrete General, the second lowest bidder, for $5,694,538.15.

Kendrick said the higher award was acceptable to CSX Railroad and the federal government, which will pay for the bulk of the bridge reconstruction. The city’s share is 25%.

$1.1 Million in Cost Overruns at Homeless Shelter

In a 12-minute-long meeting, the board – headed by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – approved without discussion $520,826 in EWOs (extra work orders).

The largest EWO was awarded to the builder of the city’s new homeless shelter at 620 Fallsway, formally known as the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Housing and Resource Center.

Roy Kirby & Sons was awarded the 34th EWO on the project for $189,409. This brings the total cost of the building to $8.1 million, compared to the original bid price of $6.9 million.

Opened in July, the building has come under criticism – and the threat of legal action by the ACLU – for its shortage of emergency shelter beds, especially for homeless women.

The board also approved $100,456 in extra pay to Alan A. Myers LP in connection with a new water reservoir cover at the Montebello Water Treatment Plant, and a $80,871 cost overrun to Fru-Con Construction for denitrification filters at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Montebello water cover contract has undergone eight EWOs. These have added $4.5 million to the cost of the project, originally bid at $36.9 million

$5 Million for “On-Call” Consultants

The board also approved $4,926,787 for “on-call” consultants. Such consultants are available to city agencies to do specific tasks under an umbrella agreement typically lasting either three years or when the “upset” (or upper cost limit) is reached.

Seven such agreements were ratified today without discussion:

$1 million to Sidu Associates for electrical engineering services for the bureau of water and wastewater.

$648,070 to Louis Berger Water Service for “project management, scheduling and inspection for water appurtenances repairs, sidewalk and pipeline work.”

$149,159 to Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson for construction services for the bureau of water and wastewater.

$1 million to Century Engineering for assisting the city DOT in “on-site project support, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) support, and tasks for various capital improvement projects.”

$1 million to Sabra, Wang & Associates for assisting the city DOT on the same tasks listed above.

$655,375 to STV Inc. to provide for design engineering services for the proposed roundabout at Key Highway and Light Street. The consultant will supply the city DOT the roadway design, pavement design, pavement-marking and signage design, landscaping design and street lighting design.

$474,183 to STV Inc. for the design of a permanent Greyhound Bus Terminal at its present temporary location of 2100 Haines St.

Miscellaneous Awards

• $5.4 million to Spiniello Companies for “urgent-need, work infrastructure rehabilitation at various locations” for the bureau of water and wastewater.

$3.9 million to Tech Contracting Co. to build the Morrell Park Recreation Center in southwest Baltimore.

$2 million to P&K Tubular Products and $500,000 to Valmont Industries for aluminum street light poles and accessories.

$1.5 million for weatherization assistance and lead abatement at low-income residents, shared by the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, Hawkeye Construction and Goel Services.

$2 million to USALCO to provide aluminum sulfate for water filtration facilities.

$550,000 to F & F and A Jacobs & Sons and $100,000 to F.L. Anderson for uniforms for the Baltimore Fire Department. This is a renewal of an initial undisclosed award made last January.

$1 million to ACS State and Local Solutions for billing services for the fire department. This is an extension of an undisclosed award made in December 2007.

$275,000 to Mason-Dixon Fire Equipment for safety boots for the fire department. This is a renewal of a $275,000 contract approved by the board last January.

$200,000 to F.L. Anderson Co. for firefighter turnout gear. This is an extension of a January 2008 award of $400,000 for the same gear.

$1,125,000 to Inter Act 911 Mobile Systems for a “Pocket Cop Mobile Data System” for the Baltimore Police Department. This is a renewal of a $1,547,875 award to the company in January 2010. The bureau of purchases certified that this “procurement is of such a nature that no advantage will result in seeking nor would it be practical to obtain competitive bids.”

$120,000 to Safety League Inc. for duty belts and accessories for the police department. This is a renewal of a 2009 undisclosed award to the same company for police duty belts.

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