River Cities Gazette

Miami Springs council tables decision on consultant contract

Q&A SESSION: Willie Bermello, Chairman of B&A Consultants was present at Monday night's Miami Springs council meeting to answer any questions council members had about B&A's bid to handle the pending LEED certification process surrounding the city's new aquatic facility.
Q&A SESSION: Willie Bermello, Chairman of B&A Consultants was present at Monday night's Miami Springs council meeting to answer any questions council members had about B&A's bid to handle the pending LEED certification process surrounding the city's new aquatic facility.
Gazette Photo/BILL DALEY

River Cities Gazette

Mayor Zavier Garcia was not very happy about it, but the Miami Springs Council, by a 3-2 vote at Monday night’s meeting, voted down a proposed consultant contract by B&A Consulting firm surrounding the new yet-to-be-built aquatic facility.

But there was nothing final about the vote. The issue was only voted down for the time being and will be readdressed very soon, because one councilman, Jaime Petralanda had yet to review all of the numbers and was not comfortable making a decision yet.

At a previous meeting the council had directed City Manager Ron Gorland to meet with B&A to negotiate a contract  surrounding formal LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation for the new aquatic facility.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home, or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

In essence, by being more “green-friendly,” the aquatic facility would be much more cost-efficient down the road and save the city future dollars.

Gorland brought back what he and a few council members who had done some research including Garcia thought was a great price.

Gorland presented the council with two different options to consider. A1 which was approval of the Aquatic Center Proposed Consultant Contract with B&A in the amount of $286,000. And A2: Determination of inclusion of LEED accreditation in the amount of approximately $51,000 out-of-pocket cost plus potentially $350,000 in “soft” dollar costs potentially recoverable in future years.

The A1 proposal was broken down into three phases. Phase one $70,000 for programming and master planning. Phase two $108,000 for design criteria package and selection of design build and Phase three, owner’s representative during permitting and construction, not to exceed $9,000 monthly or $108,000 during the 12-month expected construction period.

“I’ve checked with some other municipalities and quite frankly a few of them were floored when I told them our numbers,” said Garcia. “They could not believe what a great price it was and that we were getting the Lamborghini of consultants for the price of a Toyota. We do not need to be penny-wise and pound foolish. We need to jump on this.”

A motion had already been made by vice-mayor Billy Bain and seconded by Garcia but then Petralanda brought up his concerns.

“Are we sure that this is the best we can do,” asked Petralanda. “What do we have to compare it to. I would just like some time to check it thoroughly.”

Willy Bermello,Chairman of B&A was also at the meeting along with Rob Hank from the Pinnacle Group, to answer any questions from the council.

Talk then shifted to postponing a decision until Petralanda had time to do some number comparisons.

“I would sincerely hope that for future meetings we all examine the packets that we get in advance so as to have a firm handle on things coming in,” said Garcia, clearly irked and aiming his ire at Petralanda.

With the motion to approve A1 already on the floor the vote was then taken with Petralanda, George Lob and vice-mayor Billy Bain all voting no while Garcia and Michael Windrem voted yes.

Gorland was then instructed to get the information and number comparisons out as quickly as possible. When it was learned the the next scheduled council meeting would not be until April 14 (three weeks as opposed to the usual two), it was also suggested to Gorland to try and find a date before that so that a special meeting could be held to help expedite the process.

In other council news:

• The Open Forum where citizens are allowed to come up and air their concerns without any council comment took up nearly the first 40 minutes of the meeting when four different people chose to speak.

Two of those, Maggie Amaya and Arlene Hawks were loaded up and ready to go with harsh comments towards Woody’s West End Tavern and owner Fred Suco.

Both live nearby and have been at the center of repeated complaints over the loud music and city and police officials not doing enough to quell the situation.

“This city has been negligent in guarding the quality of life for its citizens and cannot keep ignoring the problem.” said Amaya.

• Voted unanimously to prepare a resolution to vacate the unused grassed alley between 640 Curtiss Parkway and 157 Deer Run. Following City Council approval, the City of Miami Springs was contacted by the owner of 630 Curtiss Parkway to inquire about the vacation of the alley adjacent to her property.

According to City Manager Ron Gorland’s report, upon further investigation, it appears that the City alley that should exist between 630 and 600 Curtiss Parkway and 198 Pinecrest did not exist because the properties (except 630) had fences or otherwise exercised control of the alley.

• The subject of fingerprinting and background checks for all volunteer coaches for baseball, soccer and football involving Miami Springs youth programs and who should incur how much of the cost became the subject of much debate amongst the council.

It was a few years ago that the council voted to enforce that requirement by all coaches and anyone even helping teams but would incur half of the cost while each league would be responsible for the other half. But now, due to an uneven number of coaches in each league, the issue of who should pay how much has come up again. Even though no decisions were made on Monday, the subject will be placed on the agenda again for the next meeting.

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Miami Herald

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