Pier proposals lack cost estimates

Anna Maria pier proposal
Assisted by City Clerk LeAnne Addy, Mayor Dan Murphy opens the bids received in response to the RFP issued for the rehabilitation of the Anna Maria City Pier. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy opened the three proposals received from firms interested in rehabilitating the Anna Maria City Pier, only to discover that none of them included cost estimates.

Joined by City Clerk LeAnne Addy and Deputy Clerk Debbie Haynes, the mayor was among those surprised that the proposals did not include projected prices.

“We’ll go through these things with a fine tooth comb to see what we come up with,” Murphy said after he quickly browsed through the three proposals.

It was later determined that the firms based their proposals on state statute 287.055, also known as the Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA).

The CCNA states that contract negotiations are to take place after the most qualified firm has been determined. If acceptable financial terms cannot be reached with the firm deemed most qualified, those negotiations are to be terminated and negotiations are to begin with the firm deemed to be the second most qualified.

Murphy, a former Verizon executive, said later in the week, “This is not what I’m used to from a business background, but this how business is to be conducted from a municipality point of view and we are following the letter of the law. I am reviewing the proposals and ranking them based on the criteria outlined in the RFP itself and the four qualities that have points assigned to them,” he added.

The request for proposals (RFP) issued by the city cited a 100-point scoring system for the evaluation of the responding firms. The firm’s past performance and experience is worth up to 30 points and the past performance and experience of the individual or project team is worth up to 25 points. The ability of the professional personnel is worth up to 25 points and the firm’s approach to the project is worth up to 20 points.

“If I’m given that permission, I will begin negotiations and at that time we’ll discuss price.” – Dan Murphy, Anna Maria mayor

The RFP did not contain language that specifically requested a cost estimate. It did however state that the city reserves the right to request additional information and the right to determine if the responses are adequate and complete.

Murphy said he would seek additional insight from staff, but the final decision would be made by the mayor and city commission. He hopes to present his bid rankings to the commission at the Feb. 23 meeting.

“I’m going to choose a vendor, come back to the commission, seek permission to negotiate with that vendor. If I’m given that permission, I will begin negotiations and at that time we’ll discuss price,” he said.

Three firms responded to the city’s request for pier rehabilitation proposals. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Proposals were submitted by Wantman Group Inc. (WGI), Taylor Engineering and the McLaren Engineering Group.

WGI’s corporate office is in West Palm Beach and their proposal indicated an affiliation with CB&I Engineering and Construction, the firm that subcontracted Bridge Design Associates to conduct the original structural assessment of the pier in late 2015 and early 2016.

Taylor Engineering is headquartered in Jacksonville and has an office in Sarasota. Their proposal indicated a working relationship with Sweet Sparkman Architects in Sarasota.

McLaren Engineering Group is headquartered in West Nyack, N.Y. and has an office in Orlando. Their proposal mentioned partnerships with two other vendors.

None of the firms sent representatives to the proposal opening and City Commissioner Dale Woodland was the only commissioner on hand.

County officials have tentatively offered $1 million in matching resort tax funds for the estimated $2 million project. The county funding would apply only to the public pier and not to the commercially operated restaurant and bait sales spaces at the end of the pier.

The proposals received last week did not incorporate the commercial structures and Murphy said those would be approached as a separate but congruent project that will require additional funding.