Con­sider curb­ing con­tin­gency: Cipolla

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW PHILIPS

It might not be a four-let­ter word, but it’s one an Oril­lia coun­cil­lor would like to see ban­ished, or least used less of­ten.

Coun. Ralph Cipolla said staff re­lies too heav­ily on in­clud­ing large con­tin­gency fees with work it ten­ders out and that coun­cil ul­ti­mately ends up ap­prov­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Cipolla, too of­ten con­tin­gency fees — that are em­ployed should a pro­ject run into some­thing un­ex­pected — are spent, mean­ing a num­ber of projects come in over­bud­get.

“We have too many of these projects that in­clude the five per cent or 10% con­tin­gency,” he said, not­ing projects that ac­tu­ally do run into prob­lems should be re­ported back to coun­cil so elected of­fi­cials can be more in­volved in the process.

“Coun­cil needs to have some say. Contin­gen­cies are way over­board.”

Dur­ing a coun­cil com­mit­tee meet­ing Mon­day, coun­cil­lors voted to ac­cept a staff re­port rec­om­mend­ing Bradan­ick Con­struc­tion Ser­vices Inc. be awarded a con­tract to de­sign and con­struct a new wash­room fa­cil­ity in Tud­hope Park to re­place the Jerry Udell Field­house.

The $1.672-mil­lion con­tract in­cludes a con­tin­gency of nearly $80,000.

The pro­ject had been ear­lier ap­proved un­der the cap­i­tal bud­get at cost­ing $1.62 mil­lion, but a staff re­port noted “the re­quire­ments of var­i­ous ap­proval agen­cies for util­ity ser­vices” in­creased the pro­ject’s over­all cost.

“The only rea­son it’s over­bud­get is be­cause they added the five per cent con­tin­gency,” Cipolla said.

Coun­cil­lors opted to go with Bradan­ick, re­ject­ing two other bids with one be­ing higher ($2.14-mil­lion) and an­other lower ($1.48-mil­lion).

Coun. Ted Emond, who chairs coun­cil com­mit­tee meet­ings, said staff looks at a num­ber of cri­te­ria when de­cid­ing which ten­der op­tion to rec­om­mend to coun­cil with cost just be­ing one fac­tor.

Emond said contin­gen­cies serve a valu­able pur­pose and re­main a nor­mal part of do­ing busi­ness.

“If things hap­pen that aren’t ex­pected they don’t have to come back to coun­cil,” he said, not­ing as an ex­am­ple crews work­ing to build the city’s new recre­ation cen­tre have al­ready found things they hadn’t an­tic­i­pated.

“We’re all con­cerned about the amount of money it costs to run our mu­nic­i­pal­ity. These (contin­gen­cies) give staff the flex­i­bil­ity to move.”

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