Due to an increase in costs and budgetary unknowns related to COVID-19, Rehoboth Beach commissioners decided not to award a contract for family restroom and changing improvements to the city’s comfort station at Delaware Avenue and the Boardwalk.
Commissioners have been discussing the project for years. The city issued an invitation to bid in October for work that included two accessible bathrooms, two accessible changing stalls and five additional changing stalls.
The city had budgeted $250,000 for the project last year, but during a commissioner meeting Nov. 20, Public Works Director Kevin Williams said estimates had come in much higher – the lowest was a bid from Delmarva Veteran Builders at $397,000. He said the reasons for the difference in the engineer estimate and the bid amount was related to additional structural work and the increased price of building materials.
City Manager Sharon Lynn said she would prefer to delay the project for at least another year. There’s a huge concern with placing additional strain on the budget, she said.
The project calls for rooms to be added to the north and south sides of the existing building. Williams said the commissioners could do one side this year and one next year, but there would be additional costs associated with mobilizing a construction crew twice. None of the commissioners liked that idea.
Water meter replacement contract awarded
Commissioners may not have awarded the contract for the Delaware Avenue restroom expansion, but they did award a $360,000 contract to replace approximately 160 water meters in the Breezewood section of the city’s water system. Felton-based R&C Contractors was the low bidder.
This is the second year in a row the city has spent money on replacing water meters. Last year, the city replaced approximately 140 water meters in the North Shores area for $450,000.
New committee, commission membership requirements approved
After months of discussion, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a handful of changes to the membership requirements for city commission and committee members.
As approved, a city commissioner will be the chair of each committee; committees will have an odd number of members, with a minimum of five; voting committee members will be residents, property owners and/or business owners of the city; and there will be annual training on the Freedom of Information Act.
The new rules also include a provision for how task forces will operate. As approved, a task force will be given a specific task and time constraint; membership is the same as committees and commissions, plus people who live outside the city if they have appropriate knowledge; and the task force shall sunset after its task is complete.