Another deadline broken, BB CRA may break dock contract

The latest deadline came and went with no floating dock delivered to Bradenton Beach.

It has been nearly a year-and-a-half — and many missed deadlines — since the city contracted a replacement dock at the Historic Bridge Street Pier. It was to be manufactured and installed by contractor Technomarine of North Palm Beach.

The Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, the funding mechanism for the dock, held a special meeting the afternoon of Sept. 13 to decide how to proceed after that day’s delivery deadline was missed. There was no explanation from Technomarine CEO Erik Sanderson about the missed deadline.

The CRA board includes the five commission members and restaurateurs Ed Chiles and John Horne.

Chiles was absent Sept. 13 with excuse.

The floating dock arrived at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale Aug. 16 from the manufacturer in Spain, Ronautica Quality Marinas, but hadn’t been released from the port as of Sept. 13.

At the start of the Sept. 13 meeting, Police Chief Sam Speciale, the lead on the pier project, read an email from a Ronautica representative into the record, which stated that Technomarine had paid the port fees and “the container will go out of the terminal in the next two-three days.”

“It’s a game-changer,” Commissioner Ralph Cole, CRA chair, said regarding the email. “We have to wait and see now.”

But the Ronautica email response did not satisfy concerns from the board members, who have grown frustrated with Technomarine and its numerous delays, as well as the lack of communication on the project.

In a Sept. 5 email from Technomarine to Speciale, Sanderson wrote, “Docks have arrived in Port Everglades. They will be inspected and pick-up will be scheduled. We’ll coordinate when delivery dates are scheduled.”

Additionally, Sanderson wrote that the accompanying hardware, cleats and connections were at Technomarine’s North Palm Beach office.

However, Speciale had no response from Sanderson on two emails he sent informing Technomarine that the board was meeting Sept. 13 to discuss “how to proceed with the terms of the contract.”

At the meeting, Speciale said Technomarine had not provided final specifications to building official Steve Gilbert, and, therefore, no construction permit had been issued.

Following the meeting, Speciale emailed Sanderson about the permit and the next day received a reply.

Sanderson emailed Sept. 14 that his engineers didn’t notice “any discrepancies” with the specs and asked for Gilbert’s email address, but he neglected to address the status of the shipping container at the port.

Additionally, Speciale said Sept. 13 that Technomarine had not named a contractor for the dock installation, or where and how it would be stored until installation.

A motion passed 6-0 for Speciale to call Port Everglades and Technomarine daily for the next four business days to check on the status of the dock and determine what would happen when it arrives.

On Sept. 14, Speciale called Betalink LLC, the freight forwarder and customs provider listed on the shipment’s bill of lading. Betalink representatives said the port storage fees had been paid and the container would be ready for release Sept. 19.

Speciale also called Sanderson, but had no answer and no return call.

Legal steps
At the Sept. 13 city meeting, Speciale asked city attorney Ricinda Perry, who attended via Skype, “At what point is the contract with Technomarine satisfied, where technically those docks are ours?”

Perry said the CRA would need to declare a breach of contract and terminate the agreement before that could happen. She said the contract requires the city provide written notice 30 days before termination and default, unless Technomarine agrees to a shorter timeframe.

Commissioner Jake Spooner said since the permit still hadn’t been issued and the board didn’t know if Technomarine had lined up a contractor for installation, it might be time to consider terminating the contract.

“How much longer do we want to keep going along with this?” Spooner asked.

Mayor John Chappie said his concern was that the city didn’t have the materials in hand.

Speciale pointed out that contents of the cargo container are unknown.

“We believe the decking and aluminum is there,” Speciale said. He added that Technomarine has the remainder of the dock hardware, and the city had no information on pilings.

Perry suggested she draft a letter to Technomarine, which would give Technomarine 30 days to “remedy the default.” It would state that failure would result in the city exercising its contractual and statutory rights.

Cole asked if the materials in the port belong to the city or Technomarine.

Perry said the shipment belongs to Technomarine.

He then inquired about the amount still owed by the CRA to Technomarine.

City treasurer Shayne Thompson said the CRA owed $27,000 for installation and a $9,298 retainer for the remainder of the dock materials.

A motion for Perry to draft a notice of default and have it ready in the event Technomarine didn’t follow through with delivery passed 6-0.

The CRA board set a meeting to move forward with the default notice tentatively for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

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