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HomeAt Home & BeyondCity council approves bypassing normal procurement procedures for work on the Good...

City council approves bypassing normal procurement procedures for work on the Good Neighbor Trail

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The Brooksville City Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 2022-22 on Nov 7, 2022 so that City Manager Ron Snowberger can direct his staff to bypass the city’s usual procurement procedures and directly negotiate with and submit contracts to selected contractors in order to complete utility work in connection with the Good Neighbor Trail expansion through Brooksville.

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This decision also prevents FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) from completing the work at the price FDOT chooses to charge. Original estimates for FDOT to complete the utility work is approximately $900,000.00. According to Public Works Director Paul Booth, the total anticipated cost of this project if completed by Central Florida Land Services will be $707,306.00.

FDOT requires the City of Brooksville to relocate several portions of utility infrastructure that are in conflict with the trail. Four attempts have been made to solicit bids for the relocation of utilities associated with the Good Neighbor Trail, with all bids exceeding available funds. For instance, one bid from Gordian, a Sourcewell contractor, is an estimated $1,031,000.00.

A significant concern has been the responsibility for liquidated damages listed in the city’s contract. Liquidated damages is a legal term to define actual damages that are difficult or impossible to prove.

Booth said that upon further investigation, “The city does not particularly have a contract with FDOT that would place us in a position we would need to pay [for] liquidated damages. However, the contractor Seama Construction does have a contract with FDOT that would place them in a position to have FDOT pose liquidated damages against Seama in the amount of about $5,200.00 a day for any delays that were caused in the project.” Seama would then in turn pass the liquidated damages to the City, if the City was the cause of the delay.

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Council Member David Bell expressed his concern, “I’m baffled how we have this multi-million dollar project and we don’t have a concrete contract.” Booth agreed, and acknowledged that the problem should have been solved in earlier phases, when he was not connected to the project.

Additionally, the specific utility service agreement with FDOT does call for the ability for FDOT to come in and do the construction work for the City at their cost, an estimated $900,000.00. Bypassing normal purchasing protocols will allow direct negotiation with Central Florida Land Services to complete the majority of the work that needs to be done with a total anticipated cost of $707,307.00, with smaller tasks being handled in-house to help reduce cost. There are and will be projects that will be required to complete, which may impact further cost. For example, “there is one project that we’re waiting for FDOT approval on,” Booth explained, “we have a sewer line that may be in conflict with the FDOT drainage work that needs to be done.” A document provided titled Critical Path presents various jobs associated with the utility work.

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