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by Mark Reutter6:09 pmFeb 16, 20120

$1.7 million for manhole consultants

Above: Consultants will zero in on the design of the humble manhole lid. (Mark Reutter)

In Baltimore, redesigning manholes don’t come cheap.

The Board of Estimates yesterday authorized up to $1,753,780 in fees for two consultants to prepare designs for new manholes and sewers feeding into the Gwynns Falls Valley.

The consultants, Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson and O’Brien & Gere Engineers, will prepare design memoranda, review contract documents and inspect work in anticipation of the large-scale rebuilding of the “sewershed collection system” that directs runoff to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River near Westport.

Baltimore has signed consent decrees with state and federal regulators to halt sewage overflows or face stiff fines.

Last year, the city reported more than 360 overflows, spilling more than 10 million gallons of untreated wastewater into local waters.

Baltimore County, which relies on the Gwynns Falls to handle wastewater as far north as Owings Mills, will pay $3.1 million to the same consultants for its share of the redesign.

Two months ago, the panel approved $1.6 million to a different set of consultants – KCI/STV Joint Ventures – for reviewing 14,000 manholes and manhole covers around the city.

The Gwynns Falls agreements are in effect for five years or until the upper dollar limit is reached, according to the board item.

EWOs for Charles St.

In other consultant news, the board approved two extra work orders (EWOs) to a joint venture of Rummel, Klepper & Kahl and Wallace Robert & Todd for design work on the upcoming $25-million rebuilding of Charles Street between 25th Street and University Parkway.

The EWOs have upped the original contract price from $1.9 million to $2.26 million, or nearly 20%.

The rebuilding of Charles Street past the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University is slated to begin late this spring and continue through 2014. It will include streetscaping, new sidewalks, lights and walkways adjacent to the Hopkins campus.

Other Board Spending

The five-member spending board, controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, also approved the following:

$2,211,048 to Allied Contractors for reconstruction of conduits under city streets. The project sets aside 8% participation by two minority contractors and 2% for two women-owned businesses.

• $1,209,690 to Family League of Baltimore City for implementation of the Health Department’s B’More for Healthy Babies program. “Services will include the supervision and training of project staff, coordination of project activities and committees, outreach with all partner agencies, programmatic and budgetary reports, and systems change work,” according to the board agenda.

• $331,400 to Point Blank Body Armor to meet the ongoing need for “personal ballistic soft body armor” by Baltimore Police. Last October, all bids for body armor were rejected because the specifications provided by the police department were flawed. As a result, the current supplier is fulfilling the order as the contract waits to be rebid.

$300,000 to Best Battery Co. and D.D. & M. Inc. for automotive starters and alternators for Fleet Management. This is a renewal of a $1.1 million award approved in February 2009 for the same products. The renewal extends the contract through March 12, 2013.

• $250,000 added to a $750,000 consultant agreement with Wallace Montgomery & Associates for unspecified work for the Department of General Services. Two years ago, the spending board approved this contract, which was set to expire on February 3, 2012. It’s now in effect through February 1, 2013.

• $250,000 to The Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. In February 2010, the board approved a $500,000 grant to The Associated for the demolition of 5800 Park Heights Avenue in order to create more parking for the organization’s new headquarters.

Under the terms of yesterday’s agreement, the $250,000 “will be used to reimburse The Associated for electrical costs associated with the construction of the new headquarters. The new building is complete.”

These items were passed by the board without discussion as part of its routine agenda.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young abstained from voting on the two Gwynns Falls consultant awards. Comptroller Joan Pratt abstained from voting on the Johnson, Mirmiran award.

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