Contract for $2M city hall renovation considered

Marietta’s city engineer on Tuesday recommended Grae-Con Construction, Inc. of Marietta be awarded a contract for more than $2 million to renovate the city hall building at 301 Putnam St.

“We opened the bids Friday and are recommending Grae-Con Construction which submitted a bid 11 percent lower than the next lowest bidder,” city engineer Joe Tucker told a joint session of city council’s finance and lands, buildings and parks committee.

He said Grae-Con’s base bid was $1,958,400, while the two competing bids were $2,193,444 from Kinsale Corporation of Pomeroy, and $2,233,000 from Wolf Creek Contracting in Waterford.

With alternate work added, including tuckpointing of masonry and exterior painting, the total Grae-Con bid was $2,006,750-higher than the original engineer’s estimate, but well within the acceptable 10 percent margin set for such projects by Ohio Revised Code, Tucker said.

He said the base bids with alternates submitted by Kinsale and Wolf Creek came in too high and would not have been awardable according to ORC regulations.

One alternate for finishing upgrades on some tile flooring and ceiling materials, initially recommended by Tucker and design architect Traci Stotts with Pickering Associates, was set aside for the time being at the suggestion of Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large, who chairs the lands, buildings and parks committee.

“I’m not in favor of spending another $45,000 of the city’s money on upgraded tile and flooring for this project,” he said.

Stotts said those upgrades did not have to be included at this time, and could be added back in later if some cost savings were realized during the project.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, said he would like to see the tile and flooring upgrades included, but was willing to wait to see if that work could be added later.

“We’re doing a pretty bare-bones type project here, but we also want to make this a building we’ll be proud of in the future,” he said. “We really only have one shot at this, and we ought to do it the best we can.”

Tucker said he, too, would like to see the tile and ceiling upgrades, but noted that decision would be up to the council members.

“We need to move on this and award the contract,” he said. “I would recommend awarding the bid without that alternate now, then deal with the upgrade later.”

Legislation authorizing the $2,006,750 contract with Grae-Con is expected to be approved during a special council session at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the community building at Lookout Park.

Tucker said the contract mandates that actual construction on the renovation project is to begin on Dec. 27.

In other business Tuesday, the finance committee began discussion of the 2014 municipal budget by reviewing a host of minor fund accounts.

Bill Dauber, assistant safety-service director, said the major accounts, including the general fund, streets fund, cemetery fund, recreation fund, capital improvement fund, and enterprise (water and sewer) funds were still undergoing revisions and would not likely be ready for review until next week.

He said an ultimate goal of the budget process will be to secure a carry forward balance of at least $1.2 million in the general fund to allow city operations to continue into the new year.