The anticipated Brighton Ave. public restroom project has suffered a major setback and now may not be completed until well into 2012. That was the bad news delivered to the Ocean Beach Town Council’s monthly public meeting.
The design for the project was approved on June 7, 2010, with contributions and approval from the Ocean Beach Planning Board. Final approvals from the City Council were not given until December when the project went out to bid. The City Engineering and Capital Projects division expected to receive several bids on the project, but received only four by the January 18 due date. Two bids were immediately rejected, one because it did not have all of the proper paperwork completed, and another because it was not presented to the City in a three-ring binder.
Of the two accepted bids, the lowest came in at $797,000, well over the $480,000 originally budgeted for the project.
Elif Cetin from the City Engineering and Capital Projects division explained that the bid process itself had hit a number of snags, in particular the timing of the bid itself. Since the bid did not go out until December, when most contractors are busy tidying up their books and not looking for new projects, resulting in the unexpectedly low number of bids.
The City’s engineers immediately set out to find ways to reduce the cost. It was determined that several of the design features specifically requested by the OB Planning Board via input from the community would be eliminated, including the solar panels, eliminating $30,000-$40,000 from the cost; using steel or concrete for the roof instead of other, more aesthetically pleasing material; and the use of galvanized steel screens and doors instead of the stainless steel originally called for.
Members of the town council were critical of the cuts, noting that some of the proposed lesser expensive materials were particularly vulnerable to corrosion and deterioration in Ocean Beach’s marine environment, which would raise the long term cost and eventually become an eyesore. It was also noted that the solar panels, while more costly up front, were included to cut long term electricity costs.
Cetin informed those in attendance that the contract would go out to bid again for completion in 2012 once the design was updated to include the new materials. It was suggested, however, that the city make no changes to the design and send the contract out to bid at a more opportune time for contractors with the assumption that the next time more companies would bid on it, and they would be able to find a more reasonable price with the original design.
Cetin also confirmed that, although she hadn’t seen them herself, at least one of the rejected bids were considerably lower than the two accepted bids.
Dusty Rhodes Dog Park Update
Thyme Curtis from Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office updated the council on the requested fence to create a separate area for smaller dogs. The money has been allocated for the project, and it will be presented to the City Council for final approval on March 7th.
San Diego Lifeguards are looking into an incident where nails were left and deliberately scattered along the beachfront walkway in Ocean Beach.
The results of an independent efficiency study on the San Diego Fire Department have been released, and the news was not encouraging.
The study found that the San Diego Fire Department was grossly understaffed and unable to meet the national standard for response time. It determined that in order to meet those standards the department would have to add 10 engines, four more ladder trucks, two additional battalion chiefs, and nine new fast response squads—two to three man units that can be deployed ahead of the larger response team, and shifted around to higher demand areas in order to cut response times and better coordinate fire rescue efforts.
The study was done prior to the department instituting brownouts as a cost saving measure, and the service shortfalls were blamed on a lack of funding for the department.