Mahoning Township supervisors are encountering a major stumbling block they did not anticipate concerning bid construction contracts for new buildings.

Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt felt the township engineer should have known that Pioneer and Shirk could not bid construction activities under COSTARS contracts with the state – and only building packages – when the discussions began with those companies over a month ago. Because of this, the consensus of the board was to halt any further engineering work until technical specifications and proposal sheets for construction of the pole barn are completed.

"As a result of the last meeting, Bob Slaw suggested we write a contract in lieu of going to contractors. I wanted to see what the COSTARS contracts were all about so I looked and couldn't find a Pioneer or Shirk construction contract on COSTARS," Steigerwalt said. "When I checked with COSTARS, they told me, 'We don't bid construction activities.' Our township engineer (Tim Edinger) kept telling us that we don't have to bid if it's COSTARS, but they deliver the building and we have to construct it."

Steigerwalt likened it to buying the parts of an automobile from Ford and asking a Chrysler manufacturer to assemble them.

Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt said contractors he spoke with said they could not compete with Pioneer and Shirk due to the size of the two companies, but if the township was just purchasing the building then the contractors might offer competitive bids for its construction.

Bruce Steigerwalt countered that he felt the company supplying the building should be the one constructing it.

"I can't see doing it the way Tim (township engineer) is talking about doing it," he said. "The people who supply the building know how the trusses go up and how everything fits together. They aren't going to assemble it and then wonder where the couple extra parts came from at the end of the project."

Chairperson John Wieczorek agreed with Steigerwalt and said he was concerned about later issues as well.

"What if something breaks later on? Who would we go after? The builder will blame the supplier and the supplier will blame the contractor and we will be stuck in the middle," he stated.

Bruce Steigerwalt did say however that Shirk would allow the supervisors to use their building's CAD drawings to create the plans and specifications for their pole building. Supervisor Frank Ruch told Steigerwalt that he felt that was a good plan while Wieczorek felt that they should also move forward with that building as well.

Bruce Steigerwalt said he would like T&M to take the information and develop an estimate and get an estimate as well from some local architects as well. Wieczorek asked him to take the initiative on that endeavor.

At that point Travis Steigerwalt asked for the floor to bring up another idea.

"At the last meeting I was chastised for coming up with a different idea and in the military my job is to train units to do problem solving and look at alternative approaches and I would like you to just hear me out," he told the board.

Steigerwalt then produced a blueprint based on the reconstructed Orioles building located in the township that showed an office building with the police department on one side, office space on the other side and a meeting space in the center. Three doorways provided entry points into the building – one each at the meeting area, the police department and the office area.

"The approximate cost of this building is $312,000 and if we don't want a stone facade front it would reduce the cost by $45,000," Steigerwalt explained.

When Bruce Steigerwalt asked if prevailing wage was included, Travis admitted he wasn't sure. Wieczorek placed the estimated cost at an additional $75,000, figuring a rough 25 percent extra premium on the price.

Travis Steigerwalt felt that the board could construct a new office building either in the field or after tearing down the adjacent unused building. The existing building could be turned over to the road crew with the idea that a simpler, less costly equipment barn could be built later to house what would not fit into the building after being converted. He admitted his idea was not perfect either but it would give the office staff and police a new building, the road crew the existing building, and an additional building as well.

Bruce Steigerwalt determined that Travis' proposed building would cost about $100 per square foot while the pole building for the road crew would be about $32 per square foot.

There were other costs to consider such as excavating or demolition. While the board felt that the idea was worth exploring, they did continue to move forward with the pole building for the road crew.

Travis Steigerwalt suggested that instead of piecing out the project in phases that the board consider doing the whole project at the same time. The board agreed to move forward by having the engineer put together technical specifications and proposal sheets but do nothing else.