Inside City Hall: A smorgasbord of spending

The theme of yesterday’s spending board meeting was, well, spending as the Board of Estimates doled out $4.4 million in new consultant contracts, $1.3 million for computer software and $537,000 for EWOs (extra work orders).

Among the 40-plus other items approved by the board during its three-minute meeting was a $200,000 increase for the purchase of safety shoes.

Let’s start with the consultants.

The main recipient was RJN Group. The Illinois-based firm got $3 million over three years to “provide flow and rainfall monitoring services in various watersheds through the city” in order to verify “the effectiveness of ongoing construction projects” and to evaluate “the existing network of flumes currently used for billing adjacent jurisdictions” such as Baltimore County.

RJN is no stranger to city; it’s won more than $6 million in city water contracts over the last six years.

The board also approved an extension of a contract with Patton Harris Rust & Associates, worth $686,032, to provide water design and engineering services for the rehab of water mains along 25th Street and at Edmondson Ave. and Popular Grove St.

A third consulting agreement, worth $725,805, was awarded to KCI Technologies for environmental monitoring of the city’s Quarantine/Millennium Landfill. Such monitoring is required by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Computers and EWOs

Tyler Technologies won the right to install software for the personal property billing system at the Department of Finance. The award price: $1,345,550 spread over three years, with a three-year renewal option.

The largest Extra Work Order went to Carp Seca Corp., to pay for “significant obstacles and debris” that the contractor encountered while micro tunneling between manholes No. 11 and 12 in the Lower Gywnns Falls Interceptor. The obstacles were not anticipated in the contract and the costs were documented by city personnel, according to information supplied yesterday by the Bureau of Water and Wastewater.

Nearly $100,000 was awarded to Monumental Paving & Excavating to repair an undermined roadway near Luersen Ave. and Grenton Rd. This fifth EWO has escalated the contract’s total cost to $1.6 million from the original bid of $453,076.

Another $93,000 was awarded to Fru-Con Construction to provide potable water to a building at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. This is the 39th EWO of the contract, which was bid at $115.7 million and now stands at $117.7 million.

About Those Safety Shoes

The board also approved a $200,000 increase to contract with Lehigh Outfitters, of Nelsonville, Ohio, to supply safety shoes requested by city agencies.

The original contract, for $236,429, was awarded in April 2008. Two subsequent renewals  increased the price to $627,429. Including the latest renewal, in effect through April 2013, the city will have authorized $827,429 for safety shoes.

Joseph D. Mazza, Baltimore’s chief purchasing agent, said yesterday he was not sure which agencies order the shoes, but believed they included the fire department, sanitation, public works and police. Anthony J. Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said he was unaware of officers using safety shoes.

A representative for the city transportation department said maintenance crews, construction crews and construction inspectors were required by OSHA to wear safety shoes.

Employees, however, did not have to go through the Lehigh contract. They could purchase shoes from approved vendors, and the cost of the purchase would be reimbursed (up to a certain amount) by DOT.

Other Spending Items

The five-member board, led by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, also approved the following:

• $1,429,735 to P. Flanigan & Sons for resurfacing unspecified roads. Minority contractor, Priority Construction Corp., got a 18% slice of the contract.

• $1,416,052 to Project PLASE (People Lacking Ample Shelter and Employment) to supply housing and support services to 103 homeless clients through January 2013.

• $365,940 to Neighborhood Housing Services to provide public housing information, housing counseling and rehabilitation-loan underwriting for low- and moderate-income families through August 2012.

• $300,000 to C&T Equipment Co. for parts, service and maintenance of in-ground and above-ground lifts.

• $291,408 to Tennant Sales & Service for litter vacuum machines.

• $250,000 to Physio-Control Inc. for Lifepak Defibrillators for the Fire Department. This contract is an increase of an original $125,000 contract to Physio-Control approved last year, which was subsequently boosted to $275,000. The defibrillator contract now stands at $525,000 and lasts through March 2013.

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  • Mair

    In the long run it might be cheaper to just elect the ‘consultants’.

  • Baltimoreplaces

    It must be fun to spent $4M in 3 minutes. 

  • A Very Concerned Citizen

    I pay attention and appreciate the reporting on these important topics.  That being said, most who should care do not give a hoot, hence the continuance of business as usual in the city of Baltimore.  I did not leave the city, the city of  Baltimore forced me out.  Good luck, god only knows you will need it.

  • Unellu

    I love “resurfacing unspecified roads”.  As far as budget goes it just gives me the feeling City Hall wants it over and done with fast. 

    At City Hall they met–
    the ones who run the city–
    for a spending meeting–
    and they said–

    “Hurry up. 
    We don’t have the time to dilly dally–
    Do it fast brothers and sisters,
    This is boring–
    A sadistic exercise!
    A heart ache!
    Do the citizens know
    what we undergo–
    to get them a budget?
    Do the citizens realize
    That numbers of this sort
    can make the most stoic —
    sick in the stomach–
    and dizzy in the head?
    Do the citizens care
    if we live or we die?
    SO we made our beds,
    But we don’t have to lie in it.

    We’re not here because we can add,
    Divide, multiply or subtract,
    We’re not here because
    we have studied our facts,
    We are not here because
    of our superior mental abilities,
    We’re not here because
    of our solid emotional stability,
    We never liked math
    when we were in grade school,
    We never took Algebra
    when we were in high school,
    How many zeros in a million–
    Would burden our minds so heavily,
    We can’t afford to risk our health
    for that deep insight.

    What training did we get
    for the job that we have now?
    What exams did we pass
    to do the calculations?
    The citizens as usual
    have insane expectations,
    We’re not here
    for our intellectual prowess,
    We’re here because the job 
    is quick and easy,
    We’re here to look the part
    and shoot the breezy,
    We haven’t studied the mysteries,
    of number theory,
    Keynesian philosophy
    would make us go bleary,
    If some citizens think spending
    should be a sixth sense,
    we know that they’re wrong
    and they’re off on a tangent.

    At the speed of light bring
    the gavel down on these meetings,
    And spend more productive time
    on double speak and greetings–
    If at city hall
    you want a permanent seating!”

    Usha Nellore




  • Theclockstrikes13

    A big saving idea for Baltimore. Fire units for the reason I can not understand….Units drive to the Battalion office with the diesel trucks, and still run back to there districts for a response, and then they return, and catch another response. The reason they do this is for training, and a member reads out of a book that each station has….why. They can stay in there stations and read the same training and save the city money. Also they go to the Battalion office to take reports, why not do them electronically, or the Chief come around and pick them up,,,,a lot less fuel, and can save the city some money 1 vehicle vs 6-7. I feel the city can save a lot of money by have training in there own stations, and make all report electronically. I do not think other agencies do to many hand written reports, unless they are in office, walking distance. It is like 2012 ?????

  • freddie

    These budget articles always seem to infer that this spending is wasteful without having any of the relevant details. It’s easy to be critical of what you don’t fully understand.

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