Bradenton Beach stormwater engineering contract still pending

BRADENTON BEACH – The Bradenton Beach Commission is still contemplating which engineering firm or firms will be contracted or subcontracted to update the city’s master drainage study.

Last updated in 2006, the master drainage study update would provide an independent review of the successes and deficiencies of the existing drainage elements previously engineered by City Engineer Lynn Burnett and her LTA Engineers firm.

As a more pressing immediate need, the commission is also still contemplating which firm will be contracted to review and potentially reengineer the plans Burnett presented the commission in late April regarding a $2 million flood control project to be funded by a $2.69 million state appropriation.

On May 11, the city commission selected Land & Water Engineering Science as its first choice to provide the additional engineering services sought in the city’s request for proposals (RFP). The commission selected Utility Consultants of Florida (UCOF) as its second choice and Madrid/CPWG Engineering as its third choice.

The scope of outside engineering services sought in the RFP includes an update of the master drainage study, a review of Burnett’s plans for the state-funded flood control project, additional engineering recommendations regarding the failing brick paver crosswalks on Bridge Street and more.

The Land & Water Engineering Science proposal listed a total estimated price of $112,000. The UCOF proposal listed a total estimated price of $95,000 and UCOF would rely on Colliers Engineering to provide subcontracted stormwater engineering services. The Madrid/CPWG Engineering proposal listed a total estimated price of $50,000. Land & Water Engineering and Madrid/CPWG have their own in-house stormwater engineers on staff.

When making its May 11 selection, the commission directed City Attorney Ricinda Perry to attempt to negotiate a contract with Land & Water Engineering – with the understanding that the city, at that time, had no more than $60,000 to spend on stormwater and drainage related engineering services for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Bradenton Beach stormwater engineering contract still pending
City Attorney Ricinda Perry was authorized to negotiate with all three firms that responded to the city’s request for proposals. Photo: Joe Hendricks

According to the Consultant’s Competitive Negotiation Act, the city is to first attempt to negotiate a contract with the firm deemed most qualified by the commission – which is Land & Water Engineering. If the commission deems those initial negotiations unsuccessful, those negotiations would be terminated and Perry would be authorized to negotiate with the second ranked firm, and then the third ranked firm if need be. The commission can also discard all bids received.

During the commission’s May 20 meeting, Perry suggested an alternative selection and negotiation process. She told the commission she requested and received standard contracts from each of the three firms, and she recommended using any of those firms on a specific per-task basis.

Perry and the commission were surprised to learn from City Treasurer Shayne Thompson that the city actually had only $5,000 to $8,000 to spend on stormwater-related professional services for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Thompson said the rest of that $60,000 is already committed to the maintenance of existing stormwater systems.

Participating by phone, Commissioner Jake Spooner said he was “flabbergasted” to learn the city only has $5,000 to $8,000 to spend on additional stormwater engineering services.

Perry said Land & Water Engineering estimated $12,140 to simply review Burnett’s plans, without doing any additional reengineering, and UCOF estimated $8,000. Perry did not provide cost estimates from Madrid/CPWG.

Perry told the commission Land & Water Engineering could reengineer Burnett’s state appropriation plans for an estimated $42,120, and UCOF could provide those services for an estimated $36,000.

Spooner questioned the point of spending any of the remaining money on additional engineering reviews if the city has no money to act upon the engineering recommendations made. Despite the unresolved funding concerns, the commission authorized Perry to negotiate with all three firms.

The state appropriation places a cap on the percentage of the funds that can be used on engineering services. On more than one occasion, Spooner noted Burnett’s 90% completed plans have already cost the city approximately $168,000, which accounts for a significant portion of the total engineering and design costs allowed by the state.

The commission directed Perry to contact Florida Department of Environmental Protection Grant Manager Michael Scheinkman and seek the state agency’s permission to spend a greater percentage of the state funds on engineering services and slightly less on the actual construction costs. On Wednesday, May 26, Scheinkman informed Perry that some of the state funds can be used for additional engineering services.

Bradenton Beach stormwater engineering contract still pending
A special city commission work meeting was scheduled for Friday morning, May 28, to allow for further discussion on the state-funded flood control project and any additional engineering that project may require. Photo: Joe Hendricks

At the request of Chappie, a commission work meeting was scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 28. The purpose of Friday’s meeting is to attempt to determine if another firm is going to be contracted to review Burnett’s plans for the state-funded project and provide additional options and cost estimates regarding other flood-prone areas that might be addressed instead or in addition to those included in Burnett’s plans.

State-funded project

Burnett presented her 90% completed flood control project plans to the commission on April 27. According to Perry, the fully completed engineering documents for the state-funded project must be submitted to the state by July 31. The project contractor must be selected by the end of October and the project must be completed by June 2023.

Burnett’s plans propose installing pervious pavers or pervious concrete, with underlying drainage components, at the unpaved street ends along the west side of Gulf Drive at 27th Street North, 26th Street North, 25th Street North, 24th Street North  and the Third Street South street end. The commission has not yet determined whether the 23rd Street North street end should be included in those plans, because that area rarely floods.

Burnett said the proposed street end improvements would reduce flooding on Gulf Drive North, provide better ingress and egress for those properties and assist the city with its efforts to reclaim the city-owned rights of ways and parking areas at those street ends. She also noted the commission offered preliminary support for the proposed locations when discussed at the 60% design phase in October.

Bradenton Beach stormwater engineering contract still pending
The map recently provided by Lynn Burnett highlights the proposed drainage improvements along Gulf Drive North and also along Avenue A.
Photo: City of Bradenton Beach

The commission continues to question whether the proposed street end improvements are the best use of the state funds, and whether some of the state money might be better used on more flood-prone areas elsewhere in the city.

Burnett’s plans also propose making needed flood control improvements in the vicinity of the Avenue A and 20th Place North and 21st Place North; and possibly to the alley near Herb Dolan Park.

The commission considers Bay Drive South to be another flooding hotspot, but that area is not included in the current plans for the state-funded project. According to Chappie, city officials and city staff members are exploring other potential grants and funding sources that might cover the cost of that anticipated $500,000 project.

During the April meeting, Chappie expressed concerns about Burnett’s plans for the Avenue A drainage improvements including the installation of stone-covered infiltration trenches that have worked well in some areas, but proved problematic in other areas, including along Bridge Street. The stone-covered trenches require ongoing maintenance and those maintenance costs increase with each new infiltration trench installed according to Burnett’s engineering and design.