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All 8 proposals for new Youngstown fire station will be tossed



Published: Sat, May 11, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

8 proposals to build facility exceed $780,000 estimate

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Building a new fire station on the city’s South Side — a process the fire chief calls “so simple” — got complicated when all eight proposals for the job were higher than the estimated cost.

“It’s frustrating because the project” is a “simple two-bay fire station that’s just under 5,000 square feet,” said Fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr.

Under city law, Youngstown isn’t permitted to award contracts if the proposals exceed the estimate.

The city set aside $780,000 from its general-fund budget to build a new fire station in Ipes Field that would replace the 90-year-old Station No. 9 on the corner of Midlothian Boulevard and Sheridan Road. The current building has structural problems as well as rats, mold and water leaks, O’Neill said.

But when city officials opened eight proposals Friday for the work, they were surprised that the cost ranged from $933,000 to $1,100,200, considerably higher than the $780,000 estimate.

“We’re going back to the drawing board to see if we can eliminate anything” to bring down the cost of building the station, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.

But then after a discussion with city officials, Shasho said the fire-station plans already are bare-boned.

“I don’t know what else to cut,” he said. “We’ll only reissue the same specifications [for a new fire station] if city council agrees to increase the” $780,000 amount because the proposals from contractors will be for about the same.

Construction on the new station was supposed to start next month and be done by September, but that will be delayed.

The new station is to be built on an unused gravel area of Ipes Field, a city-owned park.

The money to build a new fire station is coming from a pot of $7.3 million set aside by city council for equipment purchases and capital-improvement projects.

That money comes primarily from $2.9 million the city received from a land lease with V&M Star for the company’s $1.1 billion expansion, $1 million in expected state casino-tax funds this year, and $2.5 million to $3 million the city is saving this year from an employee early-retirement buyout.

The fire station is the second capital-improvement project in about a month to not receive a proposal under the city’s estimated cost.

Two proposals to replace windows at the city-owned 20 Federal Place downtown office building were tossed last month when both exceeded the city’s $300,000 estimated cost. The proposals were for $372,444 and $415,000.

The city is making changes to specifications for the windows in an attempt to receive proposals that don’t exceed the estimated cost.


Comments

1johnyoung(238 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I agree with the Fire Chief. These folks seem to have a great deal of difficulty with even the simplest of projects. The next Mayor needs to do what Sammarone was unwilling to... Clean house and hire people who can make progress and accomplish things!

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22fer1(22 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Ya think they don't have a grip on real world costs? And why do away with a playground and ball field when there are plenty of empty homes that could be used instead, or a mostly unused field just blocks away. Planners!?!

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3ytownsteelman(626 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Who came up with the $780,000 limit? Inflation is high, building costs are going up rapidly and onerous government requirements also drive up costs. Maybe it is just not possible to build what they want for under $780,000.

You know, all those little requirements placed on government contractors such as paying prevailing wage, local sourcing, American made steel, minority quotas, etc. all add up!

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4kensgirl(570 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Why all these new fire stations??? What about a new Police Station???? The building on W. Boardman St. needed tearing down decades ago. It has been lead, asbestos and cockroach infested since it was built. I'm not sayin build another one but can't they relocate it? How about in the old South Side Hospital? There are many other locations to look into. Four policemen died from cancer in the last few years while working there. Others are still suffering from it. No one cares. Let's get these guys out of there before others have to die needlessly.

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5johnyoung(238 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

@NoBS,

You have a tendency to read what you want into other posts instead of focusing on the actual issue at hand.

My point was that the true costs of building the facility should have been accurately determined up front, not after the bids were let! Whomever had the responsibility for doing so dropped the ball big time. If the current market cost of a "bare bones" fire station is $1.2 million, how did they come up with an estimate of $780,000? They sort of missed it by 35%. Hence the root of the true governmental incompetency, which now will require re-bids, waste time, and increase administrative costs. In the private sector, the responsible parties would now be delivering pizzas for a living.

...Now carefully read the above several times and you just might begin to understand how your taxpayers' money is consistently wasted not only in this instance, but in many other similar instances.

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6Ianacek(883 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Construction costs are escalating in the Valley due to resource constraints & high demand . This budgetary pressure will be the death knell for the current unweildy Council structure .

As for the fire force : They have accepted they need 20 fewer positions , but instead of stretching the reduction over 5 years , they should do it now & concentrate on officer reductions . Their current 1 officer to 1 firefighter ratio stands out like a sore thumb .
Police cut their numbers by 17.5% to align with a smaller City & the Fire Dept ought to do likewise .
They have also been told in the efficiency audit that Youngstown needs only 6 stations instead of 8. Sell 2 or 3 stations & build 1 new one . Why not work on joint service level agreements with neighboring municipalities & rationalize station sites across municipal boundaries .
I hope this gives some ideas as to how Youngstown can still afford a great fire force at a reasonable cost .

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