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Déjà vu: Bradenton Beach pier project bid redo

By Jennifer Glenfield, Islander Reporter

A little déjà vu visited Bradenton Beach City Hall July 10.

The city commission awarded the contract for renovations to the Historic Bridge Street Pier to Duncan Seawall Dock and Boatlift.

It was a repeat of the decision in May, when Duncan was first awarded the contract, but after competing companies Pac Comm and Tampa Bay Marine protested, the city canceled all bids and rescinded the award.

Pac Comm contested the original award based on its bid at a lower cost, and Tampa Bay Marine said it was not considered in spite of being recommended.

A week later, the city issued another request for proposals for the work. The revised RFP included an electrical component that was not included in the original bid.

“Based on the evaluation results, the highest score is Duncan. They have the best response to lighting design and electrical layout,” said building official Steve Gilbert.

Gilbert and ZNS Engineering, the city’s contracted engineering firm, recommended Duncan.

Three companies responded to the RFP: Pac Comm, Tampa Bay Marine and Duncan. Pac Comm was not represented at the July 10 meeting at city hall.

The companies were scored using a matrix that included cost, work in progress, local resources and references, experience and licensing.

Duncan, in the most recent RFP, was the second lowest bidder, coming in behind Tampa Bay Marine. Tampa Bay Marine’s bid was $80,000 below Duncan’s cost estimate.

“The selection committee ranked Duncan Seawall the highest. They are the most responsive, most qualified and most responsible bidder,” said Duncan’s attorney, Adam Mohammadbhoy of Harllee & Bald, P.A., of Bradenton, during public comment. “Total cost is only one of the 22 criteria and awarding contracts to someone other than the lowest bidder is permissible.”

Mohammadbhoy said Duncan’s proposal would have the lowest impact on the pier restaurant and bait shop, which will remain open during the construction process. Duncan plans to work at night.

Roland Pena, owner of the pier concessions, said Duncan was the only contractor to approach him and address concerns about the anticipated 160-plus days of construction.

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh asked Gilbert when work would begin.

“It will start the day before yesterday,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert said the contractor proposed a mid to late July startup. However, a contract still must be negotiated between the city and Duncan, brought before commissioners and signed by Mayor Bill Shearon.

“The anticipated start date is, we’re going to finish the contract as soon as possible,” Gilbert said. “As stated in the RFP, time is of the essence.”

Shearon cited concerns over the delay in construction, which extends the work into tourist season.

“This project is a health, safety and welfare project due to the condition of the pier and due to the delay we’ve already had now,” Shearon said. “Also we’re heading into the height of hurricane season.”

Shearon said city attorney Ricinda Perry, who did not attend the meeting, will furnish a contract as soon as possible.

Renovation plans include expanding the outdoor dining area at the pier restaurant by 9,700 square feet, light gray composite decking, water lines to new fishing stations and 21 new pilings in addition to replacing the 151 that support the pier.

The 21 extra pilings will extend into Sarasota Bay from the floating dock adjacent to the pier. The pilings will form a protective barrier to prevent damage from boats breaking loose from the nearby anchorage.

The pier renovation will be funded through a joint effort by the Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and Manatee County government.

The Manatee County Tourist Development Council recommended spending up to $1 million in matching funds for the project from the tourist development tax fund and county commissioners approved the spending plan. It is a 5 percent tax collected on accommodations in the county of six months or less.

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