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City Hall set to approve big bucks for consultants

More and more, Baltimore relies on private companies to do the work of government

Above: Rec and Parks, set to spin-off many city rec centers to save money, is planning to pay $1.5 million for “on-call” architecture consultants.

((UPDATE: The Board of Estimates approved all of the consultant contracts below, as well as the other spending items, at its 9/28/11 meeting. It rejected a protest of its $343,800 award to P&J Contracting Co.))

The Recreation and Parks Department wants to pay an architecture firm $1.5 million for on-call consulting services at the same time the city plans to close as many as 10 rec centers.

Citing budget cuts and a new strategy by the Rawlings-Blake administration, the agency plans to consolidate some rec centers and divest or close others after January 1.

The estimated savings of $300,000-$400,000 a year from the contraction of the city’s 55 rec centers compares to the $500,000 a year set to go to consulting architects GWWO Inc. through September 2014.

More and more, Baltimore government relies on consultants to provide technical expertise and services to city agencies.

Consultants advise on how to route trucks through the city, prepare bid documents for landfills, teach computer skills to city employees and oversee inspections of water mains.

This week’s spending agenda before the city Board of Estimates is no exception. Six consulting contracts totaling $8,707,037 are scheduled for approval by the board at its meeting tomorrow.

In addition to Recreation and Parks’ request, $3 million is set to go to KCI Technologies for “on-call solid waste facilities management services.” (The language describing KCI’s duties is identical to the $3 million contract handed out last week to the ARM Group.)

Whitman, Requardt & Associates is slated to receive $1.5 million from the Department of Transportation for “on-call traffic engineering studies.” STV Inc. is on tap for another $307,037 for consulting services involving reconstruction of Kent Street near the Light-Rail station at Westport.

The Bureau of the Budget wants a $460,942 consulting contract with Public Financial Management. The Philadelphia group will advise the agency on a 10-year financial plan for the city.

And finally $2 million is headed to Crown Security System to provide personnel to monitor closed-circuit television (CCTV) security cameras installed around the city.

Tomorrow’s agenda also includes the following spending items:

$7,169,918 to Carp-Seca Corp. to settle a claim for extra work done by company at the Lower Stony Run sewer inceptor in north Baltimore. This amount comes on top of the original $9.1 million contract entered into by the Bureau of Water and Wastewater. According to board records, “This settlement resolves all outstanding issues between the city and Carp-Seca Corp., including extra work and money owed for base contact work and release of all retainage.”

$2.5 million to Middleton & Meads Co. for springs and suspension parts and repairs for city vehicles.

$500,000 – in addition to $500,000 approved in April – to Gone Swimming Pools Inc. for maintenance and repair of municipal swimming pools through December 2013.

$343,800 to P&J Contracting Co. for the rehab of a vacant city-owned building at 103 W. Lexington Street that has a tree growing out of its front facade.

a $256,627 add-on to a contract with Monumental Paving & Excavating to repave utility cuts for the Bureau of Water and Wastewater.

$257,000 to Avolve Software Corp. to provide and maintain software for the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

$200,000 to ATD-American Co. for flex cuffs for city police and the sheriff’s department.

$200,000 to HCD to cover the costs of construction, labor and furniture for the 10th and 11th floor renovation of its downtown offices.

$28,000 to replace 15 broken windows at the Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.

The five-member spending board is composed of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, City Solicitor George Nilson and Public Works Director Alfred H. Foxx.

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