South Orange has received a total 11 bids in response to its request for proposals for architectural consulting services to assess the state of the police building and plan and administer improvements. Responses were due September 25.
Village Administrator Barry Lewis reported at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, October 13 that “all but 2 of the 11 proposals were below the amount budgeted” — $50,000.
“We’ve formed an ad hoc committee to review those proposals from the architects and narrow it down to two or three to interview,” Lewis told the Trustees. Trustee Sheena Collum later said that that committee — which includes Lewis, the Village Engineer, Police Chief James Chelel, Collum, and a representative from the Development Committee — would be meeting with the two lowest bidders based on the recommendation of Lewis. Lewis said that he hoped to have a resolution with a recommendation to award a contract for an architectural assessment of the police building on the next Board of Trustees agenda on October 27.
The Trustees have allocated $1.5 million for repairs to the police building in the 2015 capital budget.
Collum also updated the Trustees on the progress of upgrading the town’s emergency communications systems. Collum said that a change order was needed regarding Phase 4 for some unforeseen expenses including “off-contract labor.” She said the amount was still being negotiated but was about $28,000 above and beyond the $33,700 that had been allocated for Phase 4 bringing the total for the four phases of implementation up from approximately $54,000 to about $80,000.
In addition, the town received an initial quote of $600,000 to procure new communications equipment and systems for police, fire and emergency personnel, but Lewis believes that opportunities exist to bring that number lower based on a number factors including exploring grants to help offset the cost. “However, we are committed to upgrading the system to ensure proper operations and efficiencies, recognizing the importance of our public safety departments,” wrote Lewis in a follow-up email to Village Green.
In September, South Orange Police Benevolent Association Local #12 President Steven Davenport contacted The Village Green with complaints about the condition of the police building. Davenport proffered a video showing water dripping and seeping into the building’s basement, mold in locker rooms and on ceilings, and oozing sewage pipes.
Lewis countered that the town was seeking architectural services to perform a comprehensive assessment the building and had allocated money for extensive repairs.