Wards 4 and 5 Representatives, along with Mayor Scott McBrayer and Chief of Staff J.J. Bischoff at a city council meeting.
The city council voted at tonight's meeting to delay its decision on hiring a project manager for the schools, parks and public safety projects funded by the proceeds of a $110 million bond.
B.L. Harbert International was recommended by the task force that interviewed potential management firms. Council members who were not part of the task force have been given copies of the proposals to review. They will bring their own questions and comments to a committee of the whole work session devoted to the topic, set for April 3 at 5 p.m.
The Harbert proposal estimates 16 months of pre-construction work on the city schools expansion project, with a total cost of $240,593. This includes the demographics, public involvement, architect selection and construction bidding phases of work. Most of the expense in this phase is incurred by the senior program manager, pre-construction manager, project manager and estimator, working at rates varying from $60 to $125 per hour. The proposal estimates about 2,304 hours of pre-construction work, totaling $225,593.
Construction for the schools, which could include a brand new high school in West Homewood and a combination of additions at some or all of the elementary and middle schools, is also estimated to take about 16 months. The total cost for management of the construction phase is projected at $1,489,850, again with personnel taking the largest portion of the funding. A senior program manager, program manager, three field supervisors, an assistant project manager, a safety manager and an office clerk would collectively spend about 10,807 hours of work in this phase, totaling $840,193. A construction management fee would cost about $488,880.
Pre-construction for the public safety facility, a much smaller scale project, would only take about eight months and management costs would total around $78,540. A similar set of personnel as for the schools project pre-construction would spend around 624 hours on the project, totaling $73,740.
About 13 months of construction will be needed to complete the new public safety facility, to be located on Bagby Drive. Project management during that time would cost about $807,466, with the 6,129 total hours spent by a senior program manager, program manager, field supervisor, assistant project manager, safety manager and an office clerk costing about $452,572. There is also a construction management fee of $270,010.
Ballfield work at West Homewood Park would take about 10 months of pre-construction and 918 hours of management team work. The total cost would be $90,967, with personnel costs taking up $86,167 of that amount.
Construction in West Homewood Park would take about 17 months. The total expense of $1,111, 294 includes a construction fee of $454,080 and personnel costs of $537,093, accrued by 7,096 hours of work by six employees.
A new maintenance facility is also part of the overall renovations at the West Homewood Project, costing $31,061 during the five-month pre-construction and $153,575 during the eight-month construction period.
The Patriot Park pool would be the most inexpensive single project to manage. Pre-construction would take about five months and $36,515 in management services, including 364 hours of work by four Harbert employees at a cost of $34,640. Construction management would total $300,217 for the project, estimated for completion in about eight months. That includes a $105,000 construction management fee and $164,886 in personnel expenses, accrued by six employees over 2,160 total hours.
According to the fee worksheets in Harbert's proposal provided to council members, the management costs for these projects — including personnel, construction fees, office work, travel and living expenses and other fees — would total around $4,340,000.
These projects would be worked on concurrently in order to get everything complete within the three-year time frame established when the $110 million bond was taken out by the city. In addition to the city's familiarity with Harbert based on its previous work on the community center and the study of the schools and parks that led to this series of projects, task force members also said compatibility between Harbert employees and city officials and a shared savings agreement led them to recommend Harbert over the other firms. The shared savings agreement would allow the city and Harbert to divide any savings from coming in under budget.
Between the task force recommendation and this meeting, several concerned Homewood residents had sent letters to their council representatives asking to delay the vote and spend more time looking at the proposal. Many of those residents have also been concerned about transparency in the operations of the task force from the beginning.
Ward 3 Representative Walter Jones had recommended at the task force meeting on March 16 that the council proceed with a vote tonight, due to the time constraints, particularly for the parks system, to begin some projects. With design, public meetings to review options and about 10 months of construction, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Berkley Squires said any delay would jeopardize the Patriot Park pool's completion in time for summer 2018, as well as the cycle of updating West Homewood Park ballfields when not in use by youth leagues.
"We've been ready since October to go," Squires said.
Before tonight's finance meeting, however, council members took a few moments to discuss the issue. Jones said that some parts of the project that are definite — the design phase for the Patriot Park pool and public safety building and work on mitigation and demolition on the Mason Property, for instance — can move forward while the details of project management are hammered out.
The council ultimately voted to set the work session while allowing the city attorney and parks and recreation department to negotiate with architecture firms. Since those parts of the project were why he originally recommended immediate action, Jones said he was comfortable with taking more time to review the project management proposals.
The council also:
- Approved new paint and yield signs at the traffic circle at Linwood Drive to attempt to prevent driver confusion when navigating the circle.
- Approved the renewal of the city's insurance consulting services. Jones said the service had saved the city $860,000 in premiums and fees while reducing the number of claims paid out. Two major claims have been paid out this year: a $2 million settlement for the 2006 case of a woman who was struck by a Homewood police officer during the Special Olympics Torch Run, and a $1.5 million settlement for the 2015 suicide of an 18-year-old woman while in police custody.
- Set an April 3 meeting with Katherine Bazemore of Volatile Analysis for an update on West Homewood noise and odor issues. Volatile Analysis scientists have been on site in the past week, as well as a police officer with a decibel reader.
- Set April 10 public hearings for a fence ordinance variance request at 1715 Mayfair Drive and a driveway ordinance variance request at 602 Windsor Drive.
- Set an April 10 public hearing to consider two properties being declared public nuisances: 2827 16th Place South and 2831 16th Place South. Both are being considered due to excessive growth, litter and "open storage of certain items" that do not meet city health ordinances, according to the agenda.
- Authorized the mayor to issue a certificate of development for the Publix shopping center at 411 Green Springs Highway. City attorney Mike Kendrick said the certificate is for the original development of the Publix and other storefronts by Bayer Properties, and it is being issued because the property is being sold.
- Amended a resolution from their previous meeting opposing a state bill under consideration that would change the way pharmacy prescription medication sales are taxed. Ward 2 Representative Mike Higginbotham, who introduced the measure, said a draft version of the resolution had been approved rather than the final version.