After years of frustration and stumbling blocks, the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors on Wednesday authorized the negotiation of an owner’s engineering representative for the construction of the Acreage Community Park southern expansion. It is the final step before beginning construction of the long-delayed park project.
The sole respondent for the authorized engineering representative was Craig A. Smith & Associates, which already does a great deal of engineering work for the district.
Construction plans are complete, the project is fully permitted and a construction contractor has been selected based on a competitive solicitation, but execution of the construction contract had been put on hold pending selection of an owner’s authorized engineering representative during construction.
Because the contract exceeds $2 million, the Consultants Competitive Negotiations Act requires that an authorized engineering representative during construction be competitively selected.
ITID Engineer Jay Foy explained that the contract before the board had nothing to do with fees, which would be negotiated later.
“There was one respondent,” Foy said. “Staff has looked at the response and we feel that it does satisfy the minimum requirements. You have two choices: You could say, ‘I’m not satisfied with that’ and go out for bid. We’re certainly not recommending that. The other choice is to proceed with the selection.”
Although Gene Schriner with Craig A. Smith & Associates has been doing preconstruction work at the park, as well as other special projects, Foy said he has not communicated with Schriner due to the cone of silence during bidding.
Foy also pointed out that they were not awarding the contract that evening, which would be negotiated by ITID Finance Director Don Rinzel.
“The contract is where you negotiate the fee, whether it be fixed fee, time and expense, whatever you want to negotiate it with, would then come back to the board next month for approval, assuming you come to agreement,” he said.
Supervisor Gary Dunkley said he was uncomfortable with the contract, since Craig A. Smith & Associates already has a contract with ITID.
“I’d be more comfortable if he pulled out of the first contract if we chose to go into the second contract,” Dunkley said.
Foy said the law doesn’t say that a contractor cannot have two contracts, but it does prohibit this phase of the project from being a continuing contract, rather than going out for bids.
ITID President Carol Jacobs explained that the district had been required to advertise for bids for the project, rather than just award it to Schriner’s firm, which happened to have been the only respondent.
Supervisor Michelle Damone said awarding a separate contract for the owner’s authorized engineering representative was to satisfy a legal requirement.
“That’s all this is,” Damone said. “He would have continued to do it as one of our engineers, but we had to do it because it was over the $2 million mark, or potentially could be.”
Damone made a motion to approve negotiation of a contract, which carried 5-0.
Resident Alex Larson questioned why there was only one bid response, but Jacobs said she thought there would be only one.
“I knew there wouldn’t be many because it is so busy out there in construction,” Jacobs said. “There’s a lot of people with bigger jobs, and I wasn’t surprised that there was just the one.”
Jacobs asked when the project was going to get underway, and Schriner said he expected it to start by November.
“We have already saved $550,000,” he said. “We’re going to look for more. I do need approval of an architect to do the buildings over because the other buildings were not good and they came in way overpriced.”
“So you don’t see anything that will stop us this time?” Jacobs asked.
“I’m moving forward, and like I said, I’m going to save more money,” Schriner said.