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The Dripby Mark Reutter4:10 pmSep 21, 20110

Helicopters and uniforms: spending before the Board of Estimates

In her first budget in 2010, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake threatened to ground Baltimore’s four police helicopters as a budget-tightening measure. Today, the Board of Estimates approved the purchase of a new fleet of helicopters for $9.5 million.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III was on hand before the meeting to thank the panel for ratifying a sole-source agreement with American Eurocopter Corp. for four EC120B helicopters to replace the existing fleet.

In deciding not to place the contract out to bid, the board said the new copters will be compatible with the parts stocked by the police department’s aviation unit. Because pilots, crewmembers and maintenance personnel are qualified to operate and maintain this type of helicopter, retraining costs will also be eliminated.

Since 2001, the city has paid $11.7 million to American Eurocopter to maintain and repair the helicopter fleet, including $450,000 allocated by the board at its July 20 meeting.

The current choppers have a trade-in value of $1.66 million. Those funds – plus $2 million in general city funds, $1 million seized from drug raids and $5 million in financing, – will cover the cost of the new units.

In other action today, the board approved the following:

$800,000 to F & F and A. Jacobs & Sons, Howard Uniform Co. and Graves Uniform Co. for police department uniforms over the next two years. This is a non-bid renewal of a $800,000 award to the same three uniform companies in 2009.

$3 million maximum to ARM Group to provide “on-call” solid-waste-facilities management services for the bureau of solid waste for the next four years. The agency says it needs ARM’s services for, among other things, designing landfill cells, studying waste-to-energy ash impacts, providing advice for landfill gas collection and “interpreting federal, state and local regulations.”

$3,877,777 to American Infrastructure Maryland to provide erosion and sediment control improvements to the Quarantine Road and Millennium Road Landfills. (Note: This was the second lowest bidder; the lowest bidder was not cited in board records.)

$2.5 million to the East Baltimore Biotech Project to be used for demolition. This grant will match a $2.5 million grant approved by the Maryland General Assembly for demolition. The city will execute an agreement with East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) over the specific uses of the demolition funds.

$464,880 to Dazer-Bal Corp. for janitorial services for the Department of General Services.

$406,399 to Whitman, Requardt & Associates and Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson for design services in connection with a replacement bridge carrying Spooks Hill Road over Cooper’s Run.

$374,615 to Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson to provide engineering services for wastewater, water and utility easement rights-of-way for the bureau of water and wastewater.

$336,218 to VSP at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore to train 60 city youths for jobs in the health care industry.

$222,738 to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to train 50 city youths in occupational skills “leading to certifications, job placement and job retention services.”

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