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The Dripby Mark Reutter11:47 pmMay 2, 20120

$38.7 million approved for Back River sewage upgrades

In a session lasting 90 seconds today, the Board of Estimates awarded $45 million in contracts, with by far the largest expenditure bound for the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The board, headed by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, approved without discussion a $38,667,000 contract to Ulliman Schutte Construction Co. to improve sludge digester facilities at the venerable sewage plant in eastern Baltimore County.

The Ohio-based company beat out local builder Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and Virginia-based Fru-Con Construction, which has done $117 million worth of work at the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant, to win the award. There were four other bidders, whose prices ranged up to $3.5 million higher than the accepted bid.

The major cost ($24.2 million) will be for an acid phase reactor, with another $10 million allocated for upgrades to the high-rate digester and GBT (Gravity Belt Thickener) facilities.

While these improvements will reduce the amount of sludge going into Back River, they will have no direct impact on the cleanliness (or lack of) of Baltimore Harbor waters fed by the Patapsco River. Council President Young abstained from voting on the contract.

In other action today, the board approved:

$4 million to NextCar Rental to provide vehicles mostly to Baltimore City Police. The contract is a renewal of a $2 million contract awarded to the Laurel-based company in 2010, and will last for two years.

$1,135,474 to Dayspring Programs to provide housing and supportive services for 63 homeless people between March 2012 and March 2013. This works out to $18,023 per person.

$233,700 to At Jacob’s Well to provide housing and supportive services for 20 homeless people. This works out to $11,685 per person.

$871,000 to the Family League of Baltimore to support prenatal home visiting programs for pregnant women and women with young children. The Family League recently terminated a contract with the People’s Community Health Centers and hired Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation and The Family Tree. The visiting program is aimed at reducing low birthweight and premature births and  infant deaths due to unsafe sleep. Mayor Rawlings-Blake abstained from voting on the contract.

$481,497 to Machado Construction Co. rehabilitate the West Baltimore Bike Trail and make pedestrian improvement on Edmondson Avenue and North Pulaski Street.

Interestingly, Machado Construction also serves as the project’s DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) subcontractor, with a 60% ($289,326) share of the contract, according to the BOE agenda. Machado is owned by Mario Machado. Federal and state motor vehicle taxes underwrite the project.

$241,200 to Allied Contractors to make improvements to the Henry H. Garnet Park.

$206,854 to Habitat for Humanity to rehabilitate 10 vacant properties for first-time homeowners in scattered parts of Baltimore, including Brooklyn and Pigtown.

$195,000 to DSM Properties to build the new Patterson Park Dog Park. Money for the project comes from two reserve funds held by the Department of Recreation and Parks.

$150,000, split between Stu Ron Springs and Efficiency Enterprises, to repair RV and motor home vehicles for the Department of General Services. This is an extension of a 2007 contract and “is needed to maintain continuity of services until a new contract is put in place,” according to the board’s agenda.

$52,000, split between lawyers Alan S. Carmel and Barrett W. Freedlander, to preside over informal conferences with residents and businesses seeking redress over their water bills.

“Carmel and Freedlander will take testimony from the complainants and any witnesses presented by the complainant, review the DPW [Department of Public Works] files and records on each complaint and will also take testimony from DPW personnel. In addition, they will render written recommendations at the end of each conference,” according to the BOE agenda.

The men will be paid $250 per water bill conference “not to exceed three hours.”

$76,210 to the Residence Inn by Marriott Baltimore Downtown to supply 52 guest suites for six nights as well as 16 testing rooms for five days for examiners to administer the police sergeant oral examination.

Most of the 52 examiners will arrive from surrounding police jurisdictions on Sunday, July 29, and will remain at the Residence Inn through Friday, August 3, to assist the Department of Human Resources in exams open to police officers who pass the written and multiple-choice test. The oral exams take place every two years for promotions to the sergeant’s rank.

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