Subscribe Us

header ads

CT Construction Digest Tuesday October 22, 2019

Finance board OK’s $340K more for Stamford’s new police headquarters
Angella Carella
STAMFORD — In May the police department began to leave its cramped, dilapidated, 60-year-old headquarters on Bedford Street and move into a state-of-the-art, twice-as-big building next door.
There were countless things to consider, including the monthly cost of electricity. For that, the department came up with an estimate, Acting Chief Thomas Wuennemann said.
“In the old building we were paying from $5,000 to $7,000 a month,” Wuennemann said. “For the new building we budgeted $8,000 to $9,000 because it’s twice the size but we figured it would be more efficient.”
It was a reasonable assessment, so eyes popped when the first electric bill arrived. It was $29,900.
“Alarm bells went off,” Wuennemann said. “We said, ‘If this is how much it’s going to cost, we’ll be through the money we budgeted within three months.’”
The reaction was similar at City Hall when Laura Burwick, the mayor’s assistant for special projects, and officials in the Office of Operations saw the bill.
“We jumped out of our Burwick told members of the Board of Finance at their October meeting.It is one of several unexpected expenses associated with operation of the $44 million, 94,000-square-foot police headquarters. Burwick went before the board to request a total of $340,000 to cover costs that include services not provided by the contractor hired to manage the building.
The largest single cost, $145,000, was for electricity.
It has since been controlled, Burwick told the board.
“At first we were still getting a handle on the new systems in the building, but our engineer has been all over it and has significantly reduced electricity use,” she said.
“The following month the bill was $8,800,” Wuennemann said Friday. “The building has four different air handlers, so we are managing them. We work 24-7, but not all parts of the building are in use 24-7. No one’s in the administrative wing, for instance, during the midnight shift and on the weekends, so we shut that air handler down at those times.”
Burwick said officials figured they would have no electric bill for the old building, which will be razed. But that isn’t the case. “We have to keep it running because they have to do asbestos abatement before they take it down,” she told the board. “That added to electrical costs.”
Beyond that, officials did not realize the city would incur costs on top of its $439,400 annual contract with USA AffinEco, the company hired to manage the building, Burwick said Friday.
“At the time we were putting a budget together we made a decision to outsource management of the building. We budgeted a number we thought would be adequate; we did the best we could with the information we had at the time,” Burwick said. “Once we had the contract, we went through it and realized we had underbudgeted.”
The contract, for example, does not cover the generator, elevators and other specialized equipment. The city also will have to hire companies to provide pest control, drain cleaning, locksmith services, landscaping, snowplowing and repairs, Burwick said.
“The contract is for building maintenance and cleaning,” she said. “If someone throws a rock through a window, it’s not covered. Sometimes people in the jail cells clog the toilet or create vandalism. We would have to get someone from the outside to fix that.”
There will be added costs to the USA contract, she said, since company workers are unionized and due raises. But they work night and weekend shifts and will not be paid overtime as unionized city employees would be, and their health benefits cost less, she said.
So the city saves money despite the additional costs, which totaled $195,000, Burwick said. That combined with the $145,000 in electricity costs amounted to the $340,000 request before the finance board.
Member Sal Gabriele questioned the miscalculation.
“I’m stupefied. You mean to tell me that when plans were being put together, none of this came up?”Gabriele said. “Nobody projected what electricity and other maintenance would cost?”
Board Vice Chair Mary Lou Rinaldi said such estimates come with brand-new buildings, particularly high-tech ones the size of police headquarters.
“If this happened after five years in the building, maybe I would be shocked, too. But the fact that it’s happening the first year … it’s not that shocking. This is an experience process that the city has to go through,” Rinaldi said. “If they come back next year and the numbers are this off, maybe I’ll be mad. But I think we have to have some consideration for the fact that it’s a very different building.”
All six board members voted to appropriate the money, which was transferred from an account the city set aside after the state warned it would have to contribute to teacher retirement benefits. The state has since dropped the requirement.
Burwick said privatizing maintenance of the building will cost $575,000 a year. If the city did the work, it would cost nearly $1.1 million, she said.
“There are significant savings by outsourcing,” Burwick told the board.
Wuennemann said Friday there is a lot to learn about the building. Some units, including the bomb squad and special response team, just moved in last month.
“There’s a punch list for those offices, and they are working through them,” he said. “We’ve never experienced a winter here, so we don’t know what the heating bill will be, and snow will have to be removed from the parking garage, since it’s not all enclosed. We’ve never had to deal with that before, so we’ll see.”
Officers like the new locker room, but the interview rooms pose a problem that needs fixing, Wuennemann said.
“They are not insulated to the standard for interview rooms. They’re supposed to be silent,” he said. “The mics pick up people in the hallway. If you’re getting a confession, you don’t need to hear people walking down the hallway cracking jokes.”

Vineyard Wind partners with Seymour’s Marmon Utility to boost wind power proposal
Kevin Zimmerman
 Vineyard Wind has announced a partnership with Marmon Utility, a Marmon/Berkshire Hathaway company headquartered in Seymour, to create the first Tier 1 offshore wind supplier in the U.S.The agreement calls for Marmon Utility to establish manufacturing capabilities at its Connecticut facility producing Kerite cables to supply some or all of the inter-array cable cores that will be needed for Park City Wind, the wind power project proposed by New Bedford, Massachusetts-based Vineyard Wind.
The agreement will go into effect if Vineyard Wind is awarded long-term contracts from Connecticut to provide 800MW or greater of offshore wind power in response to their 2019 solicitation. Under the planned partnership, Marmon Utility will invest up to $4 million to hire personnel and make equipment upgrades in its Kerite power cable facility that will allow the company to manufacture specific offshore inter-array cables needed for the Park City Wind project.
In turn, Vineyard Wind is committed to selecting Kerite cable brand as its preferred cable supplier for at least 50% of the project, which will make Kerite the first American Tier 1 Supplier in offshore wind.
The supply contract would lead to nearly $40 million in direct expenditures in Connecticut, while the Seymour facility expansion would create an estimated 35 permanent full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs. Over the next decade, the expanded facility could create up to 350 FTE jobs and almost $400 million in direct revenue in Connecticut.
The partnership “is an incredible opportunity for the state to truly develop a world-class offshore wind industry,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Thaaning Pedersen. “Today’s announcement is an exciting step in the right direction but it is only the beginning.  Similar to the aerospace sector, we believe that manufacturers all over the state can be a part of this emerging industry, creating long-term jobs and economic opportunity for Connecticut residents.”
“A contract of this magnitude will create Connecticut manufacturing jobs, generate economic opportunity, and establish the Marmon Utility and our Kerite brand of power cables in the emerging renewable energy sector for decades to come,” said Angelo Santamaria, president of Marmon Utility, Power Cable.
Vineyard Wind submitted its Park City Wind proposal on Sept. 30 to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in response to its 2019 solicitation for offshore wind facilities.
The Park City Wind proposal includes options to develop an up to 1,200 MW project, which will generate enough electricity to power 600,000 Connecticut homes.
Park City Wind could generate upward of $1.6 billion in direct economic benefits and create as many as 12,000 direct, indirect, and induced FTE jobs across Connecticut, the company said. The project will also save Connecticut ratepayers up to $1.1 billion in energy costs, while delivering a reliable source of fixed price, low cost renewable energy, according to Vineyard.
The company added that Park City Wind has the potential to establish Bridgeport – often referred to as The Park City – as an American hub for the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry.
Vineyard Wind will be devoted to facilitating the creation, development, growth and sustainability of a long‐term offshore wind industry workforce in Connecticut to serve both Park City Wind and future offshore wind projects up and down the East Coast. To that end, the company’s proposal includes up to $26.5 million worth of major workforce development initiatives, pilot programs, and research opportunities in partnership with many longstanding Connecticut institutions.

Post a Comment