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City set to approve cost overruns for water and downtown street projects

Two extra work orders and a $4 million contract to Monumental Paving are among the items before the Board of Estimates today

Above: The crisp road surface and crosswalks on the 100 block of W. Lexington Street are nice, but the work cost 32% above the original bid price.

UPDATE: In a meeting lasting less than three minutes, the Board of Estimates approved all of the spending items listed below without discussion. City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young abstained from voting on the Monumental Paving & Excavating water repair contracts and the Falls Rd. water main replacement.

For the second time in a month, the city water bureau is asking the Baltimore Board of Estimates to approve a water repair contract whose cost has ballooned many times over its original competitive bid.

The extra work order on today’s agenda – on a contract originally awarded for $453,076 to Monumental Paving & Excavating – will raise the total price to $2,307,996, according to board records. The extra work is described as “drainage repairs and improvements at various locations,” without further explanation.

The same company is also due to receive $236,000 in cost overruns involving its repaving of the 100 block W. Lexington Street downtown.

Last month, City Auditor Robert L. McCarty Jr. criticized the bureau of water and wastewater for adding 18 extra work orders to a contract to Spiniello Co., a New Jersey water pipeline contractor. The extra orders, for additional emergency and scheduled work, upped the price of that contract from $10.4 million to nearly $20 million.

McCarty said the award to Monumental Paving was examined by the city’s change order review committee and involved repairs that had not been started, unlike the Spiniello contract. McCarty said the city considers it more efficient to let a contractor complete extra work on an existing contract, especially for unanticipated costs, rather than rebid the contract.

Generous Campaign Donor

In addition to the extra work order, Monumental Paving is also expected today to win Board of Estimates approval of a $3,984,398 contract to “repave [water] utility cuts at various locations.”

New brick paving, crosswalks and cut-outs on the 100 block of Lexington St. (Photo by Fern Shen)

New brick paving, crosswalks and cut-outs were recently finished by Monumental Paving, replacing the old pedestrian mall on Lexington Street. (Photo by Fern Shen)

George P. Mahoney Jr., owner of Monumental Paving, is known for his generous support of local Democratic officeholders. He’s already given the maximum $4,000 donation to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s re-election campaign.

Mahoney was reported out of the office and unavailable yesterday. Company President Paul Crowl, reached on his cellphone, said he was not authorized to discuss the cost overruns.

Monumental Paving’s $235,840 in additional fees for resurfacing Lexington Street between Park Avenue and Liberty Street stems from a contract approved last August by the Board of Estimates.

Board documents do not disclose why the repaved street cost 32% above its $736,520 bid price. Civil Construction LLC, of suburban Washington, protested the original bid, but its protest was rejected by the board.

Monumental Paving also beat out Civil Construction in a controversial $18.3 million contract last October to grade and lay pipes at the Uplands redevelopment project in west Baltimore.

Other Spending Items

Here are other major spending items waiting approval today from the five-member spending board composed of Mayor Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, Public Works Director Alfred W. Foxx and City Solicitor George Nilson:

• $6,927,766 to American Infrastructure, Inc., for the replacement of the Fort Avenue Bridge over CSX Railroad. Several “disadvantaged business enterprises” (DBEs) will share in the contract, including Machado Construction Co. ($300,000), Bay City Construction ($400,000), C. Jones Trucking ($393,000) and Genesis Steel Service ($264,000).

• $2,043,095 to M. Luis Construction Co. to resurface various roads in northwest Baltimore. Fallways Construction Co., a DBE, will share 9.6% of the contract.

$1,951,690 for “Falls Rd. water main replacement” to Casper Colosimo & Son. Machado Construction Co. is the main minority contractor, winning 15.4% share of the contract.

$1,462,226 in federal money to the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development to provide young offenders, ages 18 through 24, with “community service learning opportunities, educational interventions, career development and post-program support and follow-up.”

$950,000 to buy 3001 E. Madison Street, a 27,000-square-foot building leased by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. The property has an assessed value of $833,100, but was appraised by a third party at $1.26 million. “After negotiations, an agreement was reached for the property in ‘as is’ condition” for the above price, the board was told. The building’s listed owner is George W. Carr of Ellicott City.

$738,427 in funds from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention  (GOCCP) to fund “a comprehensive strategy for reducing violent and nuisance crime” in the city. The award will go to the Police Department, which will work with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the State’s Attorney office and other city agencies.

$185,456 in GOCCP funds to the Police Department’s Sex Offender Management and Compliance Program “to support staff to work in an overtime capacity as well as procure the necessary equipment needed to prevent future victimization of the city’s children.”

$182,472 in transferred federal funds for a concept design for configuring the intersection of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Howard Street as part of the State Center Redevelopment Project. The transferred funds will cover costs associated with a contract awarded to STV Inc., an engineering and design group.

• Last week $621,960 in state funds was approved to hire eight registered nurses and Dynamic Medical Support Services to monitor residents eligible for the Maryland Medical Assistance Program. This week the city Health Department seeks permission to spend $180,900 in state funds to hire three more RNs, plus $504,000 to hire four more private agencies – Karib Services, Inc., Trulife Health Services, Welltrust Co. and Milda Primrose Lewis, Inc. as case monitors. The monitors will visit the homes of medical assistance clients at least every 90 days, according to the agreement.

$375,000 to MJM Innovation to manage the Eating Together in Baltimore program sponsored by the city Health Department.

$240,555 to the Baltimore Development Corp. to fund “the hard and soft costs to reconstruct the property” – a three-story commercial building owned by the city – at 103 W. Lexington Street as part of the Westside redevelopment project.

$231,378 to Courtsmart Digital Systems, in a non-competitive bid, to maintain its proprietary recording equipment at the Mitchell Courthouse, Courthouse East and Juvenile Services Building.

$250,000 to AIDS Interfaith Residential Services (AIRS) to provide employment opportunities to people with HIV/AIDS.

$200,000 for pea gravel from Patuxent Materials. This contract increases to $460,000 the amount allocated for pea gravel since 2008.

$200,000 to Chesapeake Flow Solutions for “instrumentation parts.” No other information is provided.

$194,000 in state funds for the Buffer Zone Protection Program used to conduct planning activities and purchase equipment to protect critical infrastructure and resource sites from terrorists.

• a $150,000 extension of a $200,000 award to Rudolph’s Office & Computer Supply for toner and ink cartridges for city agencies.

$100,000 to Point Blank Body Armor, adding to a $250,000 contract awarded March 3 by the spending board to provide body armor to the Police Department.

$94,000, $75,200 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $18,800 from the city to purchase 10,000 smoke alarms for Baltimore residents.

Free installation of alarms requested by city residents is expected to start shortly. The program will run through June 2012.

• a $66,808 increase to a $185,588 contract to Amazing Security & Investigations, Inc., to provide non-uniformed armed security guards for the city Health Department.

NOTE: The city will receive $1.4 million from the Maryland Department of Transportation as reimbursement for providing waterborne fire protection and other services for the Port of Baltimore.

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