The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors last week decided to seek bids from electrical contractors rather than continue a piggyback contract it has maintained for many years.
ITID staff had asked for approval at the Sept. 25 meeting for ongoing electrical repairs and upgrades of district infrastructure through piggyback contracts held by the Northern Palm Beach County Improvement District using C.R. Dunn and Davco Electrical Contractors. ITID’s contract expired in September.
Staff explained that the contracts cover occasions throughout the year when the district needs a licensed electrical company to repair or upgrade various systems. The company needs to have sufficient experience, knowledge, manpower and equipment to make swift repairs to all components, from telemetry/pump equipment to ball field lighting.
Resident Alan Ballweg said he thought the piggybacking of electrical contractors was inviting excessive costs.
“C.R. Dunn, if you include the $120,000 proposal they have submitted, is billing $348,000 over the last two fiscal years,” Ballweg said. “This is very significant, and I don’t believe it’s appropriate for a piggyback contract. I believe it should be broken up and put out to bid.”
Former ITID Supervisor Mike Erickson said he opposed using a piggyback contract for electrical work.
“The piggyback was a five-year contract with one year renewable. That expired in 2012,” Erickson said. “They did not go out for another contract on that. I think that smells, and I think that’s not the way government should work. I don’t believe a piggyback is in the best interest of the district on this. Electrical contracting has never gone out to bid out here. It has been the same people here for 20 years. Sometimes it’s just time to sharpen your pencil.”
Interim Director of Operations & Maintenance Juan Massarda said the quality of piggyback contracts, as well as competitive bid contracts, varies.
“We only use piggyback contracts that are the low bidder,” Massarda said. “It doesn’t mean that price would be more than what you could get by sharpening your pencil. Sometimes you have a lower price from some vendors. However, you can have problems with specifications, applications, service to the district, and these are things that the board needs to consider.”
Interim District Administrator Jim Shallman said he believed ITID could save time and money by utilizing contracts that have been bid by other organizations such as Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County School District.
ITID Vice President Carol Jacobs made a motion to extend the electrical contracts 90 days and then seek bids, which carried 4-0 with Supervisor Gary Dunkley absent.
In other business, the board gave Engenuity Group a certificate of appreciation for its service as consulting engineer for the past four years. Engenuity’s contract expired Sept. 30.
The board put out a request for qualifications for engineering consultants in March and selected Jay Foy of Stormwater J Engineering to serve as both district engineer and hydrologist. Foy was ITID’s district engineer from 1991 to 2005, and hydrologist in conjunction with Craig A. Smith from 2005 to 2008.
“On behalf of Engenuity Group, I would like to thank the Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors,” engineer Keith Jackson said. “I know the members of my firm have truly enjoyed working here and serving at your request.”
On another matter, resident Patricia Curry questioned why the Hamlin House parking lot at the Nicole Hornstein Equestrian Park was going to have 10 lights when the ITID office parking lot had only two. “Parks are supposed to close at sundown, and I don’t know why we are getting 10 lights,” she said.
Shallman said he thought it was a code enforcement issue. “I don’t know if there is a difference between other office buildings and community centers, and Hamlin is rezoned as a community center,” Shallman said.
Parks Director Tim Wojnar said he believed it might be because of the date that the ITID office was granted its certificate of occupancy, which was in the late 1980s. “Codes are different now than they were in the late ’80s,” Wojnar said.
ABOVE: Indian Trail Improvement District supervisors thank engineer Keith Jackson of the Engenuity Group for the firm’s service over the past four years. (L-R) Michelle Damone, Carol Jacobs, Jackson, Jennifer Hager and Ralph Bair.