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Forks Delays Vote for New Public Works Garage

Questions remain on the project.

The Forks Township Board of Supervisors has once again delayed awarding a contract for a new .

The board decided to table a decision to award general contractor Gordon H. Baver Inc. of Pennsburg (Montgomery County) to perform the work on the estimated $3.7 million project.  The board voted 4-1, with Supervisor C. David Howell casting the sole vote to move forward.

“I think it is the best design that one would ever wish for a parcel that’s going to share its space with recreation,” said Howell. “This building to me was the perfect blend of environmental impact and quality of life for the neighbors.”  

The decision to table the proposal was made after the supervisors questioned architectural firm Kimmel-Bogrette about its proposed overrrun fees. The supervisors also had concerns about another general contracting firm that submitted the lowest bid.

The matter will be discussed at the Sept. 14 board meeting. The board has until Sept. 25 to award the contract.

“I’m just so disappointed in this,” said Supervisor Erik Chuss.

Supervisor Robert Egolf said by awarding the contract, the township would be limiting financial resources to handle other pressing needs such as roads.

“What happens if and when the building's cost again exceeds?” asked Egolf.

“The bottom line is we can’t afford it. I predict that due to changeovers and oversights that this building will cost us nearly $6 million. Our goal is to create an affordable public works facility that does not strain our resources and possibly raise taxes.”

, the supervisors delayed voting on bids for the 23,000-square-foot project after they came in more than $1 million the estimated cost. As it stands, the project could cost at least $4.75 million, which was the lowest proposal presented in July.

This is the second time bids have come in higher than expected. In February, the lowest total was $5.29 million. At that time, the township received 12 bids -- compared with the latest submission of 29 bids.

On Thursday, township solicitor Karl Kline told the board that several issues appeared after a background check on Perrotto Builders Ltd. of Blue Bell (Montgomery County), the company submitting the lowest bids.

Kline said several pending lawsuits -- including three multimillion-dollar suits -- appeared in the background check. The firm failed to include this information in its proposal, Kline said. The township asks companies to include a five-year history of lawsuits with their proposals, he said.

Reference checks did not come back favorably and the company's financial statements raised serious questions about its ability to perform the job on budget, Kline added.  

Instead, Kline recommended that the supervisors select the Baver firm, which submitted the second-lowest proposal at $4.8 million.

The public works department is sorely in need of a new facility. The current building on Frost Hollow Road is in poor shape. According to township Public Works director Mark Roberts, the building’s mechanical pit is of major concern with frequent flooding after rains. There are also electrical issues, he said.

Kimmel-Bogrette’s fees have been capped off at $408,000, according to project specifications. However, an additional $15,000 can be charged for overruns in design, omissions and unforeseen conditions. The board is concerned that these charges could contribute in taking the project over budget in the long run.

Nancy Bonfanti September 11, 2011 at 11:35 PM
> Something I find really amusing! I went to the website Forks Public Works >and in nosing around under the Public Works button, I found this... > > Public Works - Current Projects > Due to the lack of funding there will be no scheduled Road Program for > 2012. > > If they can't afford to fix the roads, what do they need a new garage for? And, what happens when the next sink hole opens up that the township has to cover and there are no funds available because they spent it all on this garage? > > It's simple, it's a matter of need vs. want. Cut the project down to what > the Township needs and not what some architect's "pie in the sky" dream > is. If you ask me, the architect was either given overboard requirements > or just went way overboard on what "we" need. Maybe a stupid > question...but, is anyone from our public works dept. on this Committee > because all I see is Howell and Gioia's names on the Committee. Also, has > anyone looked into any State grant funding for this type of effort? > > I can't believe this thing is underground! The expense of that alone is > astronomical. Just putting something above ground would cut the cost > probably 60%. I'd rather see a silo type thing for storage and a garage > for the trucks with an office area. Simple but to the point. >

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