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West Penn Supervisors will consider park bids

Published September 14. 2010 05:00PM

The West Penn Township Board of Supervisors will further examine bids for a proposed recreational park.

The apparent low bidder for the project has asked to withdraw, leaving the remaining bids over the amount the township has budgeted for the park.

On Aug. 31, the township received seven bids for work on West Penn Park East, which is to be located off Route 443 near the border of Schuylkill-Carbon Counties.

The base bids were for earthwork and grading for a multi-purpose field, the construction of an access way into the park and a stone parking lot, as well as an underdrain. Bidders also submitted cost proposals for an alternate to the project, the construction of a baseball field.

West Penn has $150,000 in grant funding available for the park from the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Department of Community and Economic Development (DCNR).

Ron Madison of Rettew, Inc., Schuylkill Haven, the township's engineering consulting firm, said at that time the bids would be reviewed, with the supervisors to consider awarding the bid at its monthly meeting for September, which was held Monday night.

The park bids were on the agenda, but Madison asked the board if the bids could be further discussed in a closed executive session.

The board met in executive session for one hour, ten minutes, during which the park bids were one of the topics discussed, said Supervisors Chairman Alfonso Martinez.

Supervisor James Akins, who is also chairman of the Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission (ESRC), which is assisting the township with the park project, moved to table the bids for consideration at a special meeting, to be scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. The board will also hold a budget workshop during the special session.

Attorney Gretchen Sterns, the township's solicitor, said that the apparent low bidder, which was Dirt Work Solutions of Slatington, was withdrawing its bid due to a mathematical error. Dirt Work Solutions bid $74,752 for the park work, with an additional $47,559 for the baseball field.

The next lowest bidder for the project was Landis C. Deck and Sons, Bernville, which bid $154,942 for the park and $36,217.15 for the baseball field. That bid is higher than the amount currently available for the project.

Sterns said the board will review the base and alternate bids as well as the budget at the special session.

The supervisors will also hold a public hearing concerning changes to the proposed Eastern Schuylkill Planning (ESP) ordinance prior to the budget meeting at 6 p.m.

Shared services

The board also tabled requests for shared services from its police department and road maintenance crew that would involve two neighboring townships.

West Penn Chief of Police Brian Johnson has been discussing shared services with East Brunswick Township. West Penn currently has 24 hour, seven day police coverage from its department of three full-time and five part-time officers.

Under the proposal, West Penn would contract its patrol services to East Brunswick on a 24-hour basis. If any East Brunswick calls would develop into investigations or court time, that would be deducted from the patrol hours, Johnson explained.

Martinez moved to table the request in order to retrieve more information. Following the executive session, Johnson said the board wished to revisit the figures on the cost of the shared police services.

Jeremy Frable, group leader for the road crew, said he received a call from Eric Leiby, police chief and road foreman for Walker Township, requesting the use of West Penn workers and equipment to trim trees along Wildcat Road, Reynolds Road and Cold Run.

Frable said there were a couple of options for sharing the crew's services. West Penn could charge $51 per hour for three operators and $65 per hour to rent the bucket truck and chipper, for two and a half week's worth of work. Another option would be to forgo the rental charge for the equipment in lieu of having Walker do plowing and cindering on Atlas Road, First Street and Park Street for the next two winters.

While stating he is not opposed to helping neighboring municipalities, Akins questioned the township's liability, as well as whether it could spare three crew members for the proposed length of time.

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