There was a big deal yesterday made for the breaking ground ceremony for the westside pool. Oddly, there is no actual contract awarded to build the pool at this time.
Let's review what we know...
Once again city staff picked an out of town construction company to build something many contractors in town are qualified to bid. This was not a lowest responsible bid situation. Contractors were rated on the qualifications they sent in response to the city's request. A local contractor was in fact rated highest by city staff, but staff then decided to recommend the out of town firm. Looking at the bid tab - the company picked was higher where it shouldn't have been and lower where you don't want them to be.
This happened at a time when Rep. Emma Acosta was doing her best to ensure local businesses got a shot at local government contractors. It's not Acosta's fault city staff once again dumped on the local contractors.
The out of town contractor in this case has been lining up prices from vendors and subcontractors for what's known as a "guaranteed maximum price." Since there was no initial bid, the contractor selected to do the project has to provide a number for which they think they can complete the project. It's a "name your price" situation where the person picking the price isn't the buyer - it's the seller. The city in these situations just have to pray that their maximum prices is within their budget.
Word on the street is that the contractor picked here can't meet the budgeted price. And even if they do meet it, they'd be walking a fine line of losing their ass on the project or forcing a big redesign that edits out all the good stuff. The city won't pay for a redesign and the architect won't redesign for free. That leaves us with a situation where the project dies midway through the process like San Jacinto.
Anybody feel good about them breaking ground before they even know the price?
Here's a chance for Rep. Emma Acosta to continue to prove she's for local businesses. I think she'll lead the charge to make sure things are right.