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Bids Exceed Budget for Police Station
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Cost to convert clubhouse to East Greenville police headquarters exceed projections


            Bids to convert the Colonial Village Clubhouse into a headquarters for the East Greenville Borough Police Department were opened last week prior to the July 9 borough council meeting. However, council officials declined to announce the bid totals.

            According to President Tracey Hunsinger, the bids were kept private so the borough engineer could review the documents. After the public meeting, Hunsinger said that decision had nothing to do with the bid amounts. She told the public that the bid could be awarded during the July 25 public meeting.

            However, the construction bids far exceeded the $75,000 cost budgeted by Mayor Ryan Sloyer and published on the East Greenville website. A bid tabulation form obtained by the Town and Country shows that three separate bids to complete the general contracting work ranged from $90,000 to $120,479.31. Also, two additional bids to complete required mechanical/technical work averaged more than $54,000.

            Borough Manager Jim Fry and Hunsinger did not return emails seeking to confirm the veracity of the bid document, though two of the three contractors have verified the figures.

            Borough officials "may have underestimated actual cost values," one of the bidding contractors said. 

`           Contacted late last week, Sloyer declined to comment on specific numbers.

            "We are considering several different options with several different prices," he said. "We need to do our due diligence, look at every line item, and go from there."  

            None of the bids have been accepted or rejected, according to Sloyer. He said that all three bids are being reviewed to make sure they were filled out properly and that the bidders have the proper credentials to complete work for the municipality.

            "I don't believe I will have to submit a second set of bids," said the same contractor, who spoke on terms of anonymity.

            All three bidders also submitted proposals for three general contract alternatives, according to information provided by another person familiar with the situation. He described the first alternative as the addition of a two way mirror, which averaged more than $1,031. Alternative No. 2, which calls for the installation of a 3/8-inch thick steel plate, received bids ranging from $14,899 to $42,123. Alternative No. 3, which calls for the installation of bullet proof fiberglass panels with 3/8-inch drywall finish, received a three-bid average of more than $49,602.

            "It's not unusual for bids to come in higher than expected," the same source said. 

            He said one of the main reasons for the higher-than-expected cost is that the contractor is required to pay prevailing wages on the project. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, through the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance, determines prevailing wage rates for the construction industry and enforces the rates under building construction projects of $25,000 or more when public funds are involved. 

            According to the source, who also agreed to speak on terms on anonymity, East Greenville officials hope to build a police station without a holding cell. He said the work would include the removal of a few walls, the creation of a vestibule and an interview room, one office and an open office area along with a couple of secured areas for the officers to store their firearms.

            "Nothing unusual," he said.

            Even though the bids were opened in a public session – on the morning of July 9 and read aloud at a meeting led by a representative of the borough's contracted engineering firm – the documents are allowed to remain private until they are accepted or rejected, according to Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania News Media Association.

            "The engineer is not covered by the Sunshine Act," she said last week.

            According to Melewsky, elected officials are legally required to deliberate over bid documents in public.






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