BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio – The city has hired a Warrensville Heights company to handle “pre-construction services” for the proposed new fire hall – even though the city has yet to secure funding for building the hall .
On February 14, the city council voted 5 to 2 to hire Infinity Construction Co. for pre-construction work on the fire station. Whether the new fire station is built will largely depend on voters, who will decide in May whether or not to raise their property taxes to help pay for the station.
“It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in government,” said Councilman Joe Price. cleveland.com Tuesday (March 8) regarding Infinity’s hiring ahead of the May primary election.
Price and Glenn Goodwin were the only two board members to vote against the Infinity deal.
Board Chairman Robert Boldt, who voted in favor of the Infinity deal, could not be reached on Monday or Tuesday. Councilwoman Jennifer Mahnic, who was also supportive of the deal, did not provide a comment in time for this article.
Mayor Sam Alai said he was “surprised” by Price’s comment.
“I don’t think Joe understands what we’re asking,” Alai said. cleveland.com in an email. “I and most of the council members want voters to decide the future of the Broadview Heights Fire Department. Three times Joe voted to fund security services.
The proposed new fire station, estimated to cost $10.2 million, would replace the aging station on Broadview and Oakes Roads near City Hall. The city’s second fire station, on East Wallings Road across from Joyce Drive, would remain in place.
New funds from a property tax increase would pay for 75-80% of the project. Alai added that the city will seek outside grants that would ease the burden on ratepayers. The city could also borrow money.
According to draft minutes from the Feb. 14 council meeting, council members seemed uncertain about how much the city would pay Infinity for pre-construction services.
A proposal from Infinity indicates that the company would act as the construction manager of the fire station, hiring sub-contractors to build the station. Infinity would charge 3% of the total project cost.
However, the proposal also states that Infinity will charge the city $8,500 per month for pre-construction services. It is not clear from the proposal what the pre-construction services are, or for how many months these services will be required.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Hajek could not be reached Tuesday to clarify how much the city will pay Infinity for pre-construction services. In his email, Alai did not provide the amount.
At the Feb. 14 meeting, Price asked Hajek if selecting a construction manager for the fire station before residents voted on a tax hike that would pay for most of the project didn’t “put the cart before the horse”.
Hajek said no. He said Infinity will help the city more accurately determine the cost of the fire station and what will be inside, so residents know what they’re voting on in May.
Hajek said it was Price, along with others, who previously expressed concern about the cost of the fire station and questioned the city’s cost estimate for the project.
Price asked if the deal the city was making with Infinity would cost 3% of the total construction cost, estimated at $10.2 million, or just 3% of pre-construction services.
Hajek said neither. He said the 3% was for construction only, not pre-construction. However, the minutes of the meeting do not clearly indicate the cost of pre-construction services.
Goodwin also said it was unusual to hire a construction manager before residents voted for a tax increase that would pay for most of a project. He said it is the architect who usually estimates the cost of a project.
The city had previously chosen Van Auken Akins Architects LLC in Cleveland to design the new fire hall, at a cost of $810,000.
City Engineer Gary Yelenosky said engineers and architects generally value projects, but in the case of the fire station, the construction manager will provide a more accurate estimate, taking into account the increase costs due to supply chain disruptions.
Mahnic and Boldt said they appreciate the administration’s efforts to get more concrete numbers for the fire station project.
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