River Cities

Two firms vying for Miami Springs pool project

The Miami Springs council held two meetings on Monday night, Jan. 12 and the most important decision that came out of the second meeting was the scheduling of a third meeting for Wednesday, Jan. 21 to hear presentations on the design and building of the new Aquatic Center.

The first meeting at 6:30 p.m. was to officially swear in the new police chief. Armando Guzman was replacing longtime chief Pete Baan and Judge Ivan Fernandez, a personal friend of the new chief, was there to perform the duties in front of a full house of family, friends and fellow police officers.

Guzman said he was “humbled and honored by everyone here.” He then spoke directly to his 95-year-old mother, Maria, sitting in the front row. He thanked her in both English and Spanish for making him a man and for being in attendance for one of the greatest moments in his life.

The Special Meeting was then adjourned and Guzman spent the next 20 minutes posing for pictures with family, the council, staff, and anyone from the public who wanted to be a part of welcoming the new chief of police to Miami Springs.

Mayor Zavier Garcia called the second meeting to order at 7 p.m. and the first regular council meeting of 2015 was under way. The agenda was light and for the first time in many months, possibly years, no one spoke in Open Forum.

After doing away with the few minor business items on the agenda, the selection process for the new pool at the Community Center came up. The council had set a $5 million limit for the project and Jorge Ferrer, a partner in the city’s consulting firm (Bermello, Ajamil & Partners), was there to report on the RFPs (Request for Proposal) that had been received.

Ferrer reported that six firms had submitted bids and all had lived up to the criteria established by B&A and Miami Springs. However, four firms’ bids were higher than $5 million and thus eliminated. Two firms, Lunacon Construction Group and West Construction, had submitted bids under $5 million and were being recommended for the council’s evaluation.

After limited discussion, the council agreed to schedule a Special Meeting for Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. in council chambers for presentations by Lunacon and West Construction. Each firm will be given 20 minutes for their presentation and then there will be a 10-minute period for questions from the council.

Ratings sheets from council will then be evaluated and a decision as to which firm will be awarded the bid for the new Aquatic Center can be made.

In other news, the council:

• Presented the Officer of the Month Award for November 2014 to Robert Evans and Cheryl Mulet for their apprehension of two subjects, both convicted felons with extensive criminal pasts, after a burglary attempt and an attempt to flee the area.

• Presented the Yard of the Month Award for January 2015 to Thomas and Sandra Skarlinsky at 631 Falcon Avenue.

• Approved unanimously the re-appointment of Robert Gordon and retired police chief Pete Baan to two-year terms to the Police & Firefighter Retirement System Board.

• Agreed unanimously to a motion by Councilman Billy Bain to direct the city attorney to write a Miami Springs resolution denouncing any raising of gas taxes on a state or national level.