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Forks Tables Approval of Public Works Bids

Proposals for work exceed project estimates by $1.4 million.

In the face of a , Forks Township supervisors have tabled a decision on bids for the new public works building, although it appears the township may end up paying more for the project than it estimated.

For the second time, bids for the 23,000-square-foot project have come in over the township's estimated cost of $3.7 million. This time the lowest bid total was $4.75 million.

Township finance manager Jim Farley said the project will likely wind up costing more than $3.7 million.

“Unless the plans change the figure should not change from that figure [$4.75 million]," said Farley. “Based on what’s on the table right now, it shouldn’t change.”

The township sought separate bids for general construction, plumbing, electrical and mechanical. According to townlship manager Rick Schnaedter, there were 11 proposals for general construction, five for mechanical, 10 for plumbing and three for electrical. Adding up the lowest bids in each category came to $4.75 million.

In February, bids came in higher than expected, with the lowest total at $5.29 million. At that time, the township received 12 bids -- compared with the latest submission of 29 bids.

On Thursday, supervisors said the matter would be addressed before the public during the Sept. 1 meeting. An executive session also was  held on potential litigation regarding the project’s contract and bid proposals.

Supervisor Robert Egolf also said he was fairly certain the project would run over the $3.7 million estimate.

“I would probably bet on that,” said Egolf.

Resident Fritz Wiede suggested that the project should be scaled back to a maximum cost of $2 million.

“It won’t have no golden door handles,” said Wiede. ”Do what you need to do but stay within your budget.”

Resident Dan Martyak agreed.

“We should not exceed the $3.7 million that was put in the existing bond,” he said. “If we start over then we get the bare-bone requirements and let the bidders come back.”

Egolf, who is also on the public works committee, said he was told by architectural firm Kimmel-Bogrette that change orders could also adjust the $3.7 million estimate.

“That’s why I would bet on another million dollars,” he said.

According to Supervisor David Billings, the township has already spent about $375,000 on the project.  

“It does not take two years to design the building,” said resident Bonnie Nicholas. “I don’t agree with this. I think we need to go back to the drawing board. They [public works department] really need a new building and I think we need to work on it fast.”

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