After an hour’s discussion, the Turkey Creek Fire Territory Board voted 2-2 to accept the bid for the renovation work on Fire Station I. The vote effectivelly tabled any decision on accepting a bid of $669,000 from Allen County Builders Supply, the only company to bid on the project.
Board members Jeff Morgan and Brad Jackson both voted against the project while president Kim Cates and member Bill Dixon voted for the project. Board member Brian Woody was not present at the meeting.
Morgan and Dixon, along with fire chief Mickey Scott, will now meet with Robb Flutz of Allen County Builders Supply to review the project and see if there’s a way to bring the price down.
In his report to the board, Scott noted $845,000 for building improvements has been collected over the last three years. Cates asked how much of the $845,000 was available for the project and was informed the board agreed to a “not to exceed cost” of $450,000.
Scott noted he took the bid to the architect who drew up the plans and was told everything was in order, but the board was frustrated the bid was even accepted when it was so far over the “not to exceed” limit. Jackson asked why DJ Construction didn’t bid on the project, but Scott could only say several contractors told him they were extremely busy and the cost of building materials has also gone up.
Fultz agreed with what Scott said and stated the sprinkler system, which is now mandated by the state, would cost around $58,000 to $66,000 alone to install. Morgan pointed out even with the cost of the sprinkler system the cost was still 30 percent over the “do not exceed” amount.
Cates asked about the increase in building materials and Fultz said it could be as much as 30 percent. Jackson, however, questioned that, saying building materials have increased, but he thought 30 percent was excessive, although he admitted he does residential work and not commercial.
Jackson said he didn’t think it was prudent to “jump on the one bid when it’s the only one and $250,000 over budget.”
“I think we all know where everyone stands. The question is whether we accept the bid,” Dixon said. “What we’re being asked to approve is the price.”
Fultz pointed out the building features architectural metal for the roof and siding which accounts for a third of the renovation budget. He told the board he thought the original estimate for the renovation “was just off … You really need to think about this as a $600,000 project because the $69,000 is just the sprinkler system,” Fultz said. “If we had known your bid limit was $450,000, I would have stopped working on it.”
Jackson asked Dave Cates, attorney for both the advisory board and fire territory board, about phasing the project. Cates said his opinion had not changed, he didn’t think the project could be legally phased. The idea of coming up with $250,000 in change orders was briefly discussed.
Kim Cates said the ultimate goal is to renovate the station and she was open to suggestions. Dixon asked Dave Cates about extending the 30 days the bid fell into. Cates explained the 30-day limit meant the bidder could not pull its bid for 30 days.