To spend $130K for conceptual designs

The Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday unanimously approved $129,530 for conceptual designs for replacing or refurbishing Lutak Dock.

In awarding the contract to R & M Consultants, Inc. of Anchorage, the assembly accepted the recommendation of a review committee comprised of citizens, users and borough officials.

R&M Consultants was one of six firms that submitted proposals. The borough established a range of available funding for the work at $100,000 to $130,000 and bid prices were not required in proposals. Borough officials negotiated the contract price after selecting R&M for the work.

The committee included assembly member Margaret Friedenauer, harbormaster Shawn Bell, director of public facilities Brad Ryan, planning commissioner Donnie Turner, and Fred Gray, representative of fuel distributor Delta Western, one of the dock’s two main customers.

The committee weighed their choice based on each firm’s overall qualifications and experience, past performance, draft scope of work, capacity, experience with public meetings and user groups, proposal quality, and local bidder points.

R&M will come up with three conceptual design options and pricing estimates for each. The firm will hold three public meetings and present its final report at the end of January.

R&M’s work doesn’t include engineered construction plans.

The contract initially was listed as part of Tuesday’s consent agenda, which is approved at the beginning of meetings without discussion. Assembly member Ron Jackson asked to move the item to the regular agenda for deliberation.

Assembly member Mike Case said he thought any item dealing with $100,000 or more should not be on the consent agenda so the assembly can discuss it.

Ryan answered a few questions about the proposals from Friedenauer and assembly member George Campbell, but the resolution ultimately passed with little discussion.

Haines resident Bill McCord expressed concern that the R&M Consultants’ contract included $26,883 for holding public meetings and disseminating information.

“My feeling is that there’s plenty of talent right here in the community where we can take care of that cost and conduct those meetings and disseminate the public information,” McCord said. “Members of the assembly have commented in the past about being more careful about reading contracts and I think this is an example of something that might have been overlooked.”

Chilkat Valley News publisher Tom Morphet, who was elected to the assembly last week but won’t be seated until Oct. 25, said that he would like the assembly to discuss – in the future – turning over the Lutak Dock to the two companies that use it.

“If you take all the tariffs that the municipality made since the municipality took over that dock in the late 1970s and compare that to the cost, the potential cost or the reasonable cost, of fixing that dock, they don’t match. The dock has never made money,” Morphet said.