The resolution would’ve authorized a contract between the city and Czar Engineering for plans, specification, contract and construction for the firehouse that suffered extensive damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
But members of council were concerned with the $92,350 price tag that went along with the project.
Czar Engineering has worked with city officials since the days following the storm.
“They’ve worked with us examining scenarios and dealing with FEMA,” Business Administrator Mike Dattilo said.
He added that the price is roughly 10-12 percent of the total cost of the project, which could come out to about $1 million.
“It’s a high number, but the percentage is reasonable,” Dattilo said.
Councilman Scott Ping questioned why the city’s engineers couldn’t take on the project.
“We can’t put more on the people we have in house,” Council President Anthony Wilson said. “ … Czar worked with FEMA, so for that, I think we owe them.”
Councilman Peter Guinosso suggested going out to bid, and that became the consensus.
“I appreciate everything Czar’s done, but we have to get other prices,” Councilman Keith Hartzell said. “If the quotes came in and they’re similar to what Czar is charging, I’d be in favor of Czar. I’m not against paying a little more for better quality, but I would like to see side-by-side bids.”
Ultimately, council voted unanimously to table the resolution and put out an RFP (Request for Proposal). Dattilo said he try to have a couple of extra quotes for council by the March 27 meeting.
He also reiterated that he felt the proposal was fair.
When broken down by item, construction documents make up $57,100, while schematic design accounts for $14,200 and administration comes out to $17,650. Outside of $3,400 for closeout, each item for the rest of the project costs $250 or less.
Czar Engineering was established by Lamont Czar in 1993. It is based in Egg Harbor Township, and has worked on the Flanders Hotel, the Atlantic City Convention Center, the Revel and the Water Club at the Borgata, among other multiple municipal and residential projects locally. It is also licensed to operate in Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.