Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mt. Lebanon Delays Awarding Pavilion Construction Bids

Mt. Lebanon commissioners last night tabled the awarding of construction bids for additions to a parklet in the Washington Road business district.

It was noted early in the meeting that the small park, that features a fountain and seating as a greenspace away from the backdrop of traffic and concrete buildings, originally was budgeted around $400,000.

Mt. Lebanon's official Web site lists the original cost at $500,000.

Link: www.postgazette.com/pg/09258/998148-100.stm

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Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

Interestingly, the Post Gazette has it wrong and the municipal website has it wrong as well. I challenged the Agenda item during Citizens Comments at the beginning of the general meeting, asking where the funds were coming from to pay for the over $113,000 pavilion....none of the Commissioners knew. The Asst. Mgr. responded by saying this project was a "carryover" from 2008, part of a "Streetscape" project , funded by a PA matching grant (ie. state and local ML tax dollars). The 2008 and 2009 approved and ammended operating and capital budgets as well as the Capital Improvement Programs for 2009-2013 and 2010-2014,subsequently reviewed, do not include this item.

I then indicated to the Commission last night that in my recollection the original cost estimate and approved budget for Clearview Commons park overall was $450,000 and that the land was acquired from the Parking Authority for $1.00. I further recalled that the actual cumulative cost had reached at least $850,000 as of a couple of years ago....Commissioner DeIuliis indicated that this was his recollection as well. This added expenditure would bring the total cost to almost $1 million ! I chastized the Municipal government for yet another example of governments failure to manage and control projects and spending, and lack of fiscal responsibility.

When this Agenda item came up for formal consideration during the meeting, the Commission tabled the matter and requested a study of the project costs.

According to the P-G, the "official" website lists the cost of Clearview Commons at $500,000....a nice round figure; however,
the official Capital Improvement Programs referred to above, which also include tables of municipal owned property, indicate a cost of $698,387. I recall during the construction of Clearview Commons that the Municipality arranged for a contractor, working on a different muni. contract, to construct the 23-space parking lot in the rear portion of Clearview Commons as an add-on to his base contract...the amount was around $90,000 and it is probably accounted for under *street reconstruction* or *street resurfacing* in the "official" muni records, not Clearview Commons. A similar event occured with creation of the offset parallel Alfred Street parking spaces along the northern edge of Clearview Commons. In other words, inaccurate "official" records.

I comment on this to illustrate that journalistic coverage and municipal records are not always accurate or complete, that public diligence is sorely absent and needed.....and to set the record straight ! The meeting was televised.

We'll see what an "official" study of the actual costs determines.

September 15, 2009 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

Public take note : It's on the Commission meeting agenda again tonight, 9/29/09, for consideration and approval. It is also a Discussion Session agenda item in the public meeting that preceeds the regular Commission meeting. Please stay tuned for some interesting revelations that will emerge.

September 29, 2009 8:13 AM  

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