Florida Keys News
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
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Bids are $1M-plus over budget for city hall

MARATHON -- A local contractor has the chance to construct Marathon's new city hall, as the building process enters the negotiations stage.

However, all six construction bids discussed Nov. 26 at the Marathon City Council's regularly-scheduled meeting came in $1 million to $3 million over the project's budgeted amount of $5.5 million.

The three lowest bids were West Construction of Lake Worth at $6.68 million, D.L. Porter of Key West/Sarasota at $7.06 million and Botsford Builders/Overholt Construction at $7.14 million. Botsford is based in Marathon and would be eligible for a 10 percent local preference variable, making its bid the second lowest.

The council and City Manager Roger Hernstadt agreed the next step is asking West Construction and Botsford/Overholt to bring back "value engineering" estimates, which could include alterations to the original design created by Key West architect William Horn and Solaria Design and Consulting. Those plans call for an approximately 15,000-square-foot building, a 200-person council chamber and events hall, and elevation above the flood plain.

City staff currently operates out of trailers on city-owned land at 98th and 99th streets.

Hernstadt will bring back negotiation information at the council's next meeting set for Dec. 12.

In other council business, Mayor Dick Ramsay broached the discussion of Marathon's garbage service contract. For more than 60 years, local contractor Marathon Garbage Service has provided the city's solid waste hauling. Since incorporation, Monroe County has continued to handle taxpayer billing for the service. The county, however, is considering calling for bids from other providers for future garbage services to determine whether savings would result from changing contractors.

The Marathon City Council agreed that a letter to the county expressing support for its current provider is warranted.

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