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Bradenton Beach will seek pier reconstruction bids — again

By Merab-Michal Favorite, Islander Reporter

Reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier has been delayed until the city can redo the bid process due to inconsistencies in the original bid documents. Islander Photos: Merab-Michal Favorite

Steve Liebel, co-owner of Duncan Dock Seawall and Boatlift, addresses concerns about the pier bid process at the June 5 commission meeting at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

Reconstruction of the Historic Bridge Street Pier will have to wait.

Bradenton Beach commissioners and the mayor unanimously voted at their June 5 meeting to rescind the contract awarded to Duncan Dock Seawall and Boatlift LLC and withdraw the original request for proposal for the pier reconstruction.

Commissioners will advertise a new request for proposal June 11, which will include electrical work. The electrical component was not in the original RFP.

The decision for a second round comes after an investigation spurred by two bid protests required officials to take a closer look at the original bid documents, which were found to have inconsistencies.

The city was investigating two complaints filed by companies that competed for the contract, but lost to a higher bidder.

Pac Comm Inc. of Miami and Tampa Bay Marine Inc. of Gibsonton formally contested the commission’s decision to award the contract to Sarasota-based Duncan Seawall, the highest bidder of the three companies competing for the contract.

“It was brought to my attention during the investigation that a number of other issues adversely impacting the project were arising simultaneously with the protests,” said city attorney Ricinda Perry, who conducted the investigation.

Perry told commissioners the plan to have lighting work done as a project separate but concurrent from the pier construction “fell apart in the middle.”

“We were trying to time those two components together, but a number of issues have made that unlikely,” she said. “We decided it would be best if the lighting component was part of the master reconstruction plan.”

Perry also found some of the proposals included  use of a docking facility at the south end of the city as a staging area, but no contractor had permission to use the structure.

“That structure is for upkeep of an artificial reef and it’s only functional two months of the year,” she said.

Duncan was awarded the contract at the May 22 commission meeting.

City building official Steve Gilbert and pier team member Karen Wilson of ZNS Engineering recommended Duncan Seawall and Tampa Bay Marine to the commission based on a bid evaluation matrix and a series of interviews conducted prior to May 22.

Although Pac Comm submitted the lowest base bid, $1,041,043 and the lowest bid with additional options, $1,258,543, it was not recommended because of what commissioners thought was an unrealistic timeframe for completion.

The wide variance between Pac Comm’s bid — 100 days with a crew of eight workers — and the other bids, which ranged in duration from 140-175 days with a crew of 20-30, caused city pier team members to be wary of Pac Comm’s bid.

Tampa Bay was the second lowest, with a $1,237,487 base and $1,494,334 with options, however it was not considered because a representative did not attend the May 22 meeting.

“I don’t think it’s fair that I was not considered just because I didn’t come to a meeting I wasn’t invited to,” Chris Theriot, general manager of Tampa Bay Marine, said.

Duncan was the most expensive at a $1,309,452 base price and $1,707,325 with options. A staff recommendation to award the bid to Duncan Seawall noted the company has worked in Bradenton Beach in the past.

“We respect the commission’s decision to rescind the bid,” Steve Liebel, co-owner of Duncan said. “We are prepared to bid for the project the second time around.”

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