Marco Island City Council undoes rejection of Smokehouse Bay Bridge bids

Ken Honecker, left, listens as Amadeo Petricca speaks. Marco Island's City Council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

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Ken Honecker, left, listens as Amadeo Petricca speaks. Marco Island's City Council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

As Councilor Larry Sacher, right, speaks, Councilors from left, Larry Magel, Chuck Keister, Larry Honig, Joe Batte, Ken Honecker, and Amadeo Petricca listen. Marco Island's City Council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

As Councilor Larry Sacher, right, speaks, Councilors from left, Larry Magel, Chuck Keister, Larry Honig, Joe Batte, Ken Honecker, and Amadeo Petricca listen. Marco Island's City Council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Bond consultant Robert Ori talks refinancing with Marco Island's City Council. The council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Bond consultant Robert Ori talks refinancing with Marco Island's City Council. The council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Public Works Director Tim Pinter and TY Lin vice president James Molnar present options for moving ahead with bridge bids. Marco Island's City Council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Public Works Director Tim Pinter and TY Lin vice president James Molnar present options for moving ahead with bridge bids. Marco Island's City Council met Monday, considering bond financing, city services, the city's budget, and the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— The Marco Island City Council voted Monday to rescind their earlier rejection of all bids for construction of the Smokehouse Bay Bridge. But they made it clear that the design that was chosen and bid on, which they will be presented with again for reconsideration at their next meeting, is not the one they want to go forward with. Is that clear?

While the City Council voted unanimously in their July meeting to reject all the bids received, when they came in from $11.5 to over $13 million, versus the estimate of $7.9 million from TY Lin International, the project’s engineer and design firm, they performed an about face Monday, after considering that their rejection would necessitate starting the project from scratch, and eliminate the city’s ability to renegotiate with the low bidder based on revised plans.

These revised plans, with the swooping arches eliminated, were to be provided to the city at no charge by TY Lin. Councilor Amadeo Petricca had made the suggestion last meeting, and TY Lin vice president James Molnar, who was present at both meetings, confirmed it Monday.

“I’m trying to get back to where we don’t have to do it all over,” said Petricca. Councilors were frustrated by the impossibility of knowing a hard cost for patching up the bridge, and putting off the replacement, but were assured by the engineer and Jovan Zepcevski, the principal of Zep Construction, the low bidder on the project as designed, that it would cost $2 million or more.

“You can sit here all day long. Until you know the cost to rehab the bridge, we’re playing games with ourselves,” said Councilor Larry Magel. When Councilor Ken Honecker suggested they could get firm figures, Magel was dismissive.

“No overages in city contracts? Right,” he said.

“I’m sitting here now, Larry. It’s going to be a little different,” countered Honecker. “We’ll be watching it.” Since TY Lin had agreed to redesign the bridge with the arches gone, he said, the city could then get a new price from the low bidder, with no downside.

“I do see some downside,” said Councilor Larry Honig, citing items that had been “new news to TY Lin,” including steel from China and the need to withstand gale force winds, and “general bungling by city staff. Now, that same crew is going to approach the low bidder. It might be better having new bids on a new bridge.”

Zepcevski said he was sure $2 million could be cut from the cost of the bridge. The council voted 5-2 to rescind the rejection of bids, with Magel and Honig dissenting.

After a presentation by bonding consultant Robert Ori of Public Resources Management Group, the Council voted 6-1 to issue new bonds to refinance the city’s 2003 and 2008 water and utility bonds. They also approved awarding of a contract to Mauldin & Jenkins to audit the city’s finances for a three-year period and extension of a line of credit with BB&T for two sewer assessment areas, in the amount of $1,820,000, and heard an interim report from the City Council’s budget sub-committee.

When he gave the invocation before the meeting, Rev. Thomas McCulley of New Life Community Church dedicated the Pledge of Allegiance to Islander Bedford Biles, a World War II veteran of the “Screaming Eagles” 101st Airborne Division who parachuted into Normandy in the D-Day invasion, and was awarded medals including the Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts and France’s Legion of Honor. Fay Biles, Mrs. Bedford Biles, sat in the audience at Monday’s meeting, the first since Bedford died July 28, maintaining her streak of attending every City Council meeting since the City of Marco Island’s founding.

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Comments » 5

captnjimbo writes:

This wide disparity gives me the jitters.

Any record on these contractors on how past contracts have been completed? Do minor change orders trump up the cost?

Curious am I.

WizeOlMarco writes:

If the bridge design is revised, should all bidders have an opportunity to rebid? Negotiating with the low bidder of design A doesn't mean you are getting 'the low bid' for design B.

WMissow writes:

Magel and Honig......Birds of a feather flock together. Whatever Papa wants Baby does!

OldMarcoMan writes:

What a Joke,
I wonder what kinda mess these idiots would have made of a REAL fight like the sewers. Love Um or Hate Um at least the Old Councilmen stood their ground.

deltarome writes:

If the Marriott is going to build onto the hotel and a new parking structure, just think of the damage that will occur hauling all that concrete and steel over these old bridges! Maybe get them to avoid collier blvd or fork over money to reinforce the existing bridges!

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