Salt shed bids too high as building study begins
Although township commissioners did agree Aug. 20 on hiring a firm to undertake a study of all the township’s buildings and future needs, decisions about one more pressing need remain unmade.
The commissioners voted to appoint Alloy 5, a Bethlehem engineering firm, to look at all the township’s facilities and offer a report on how much longer they’ve got, what it would take to repair them and what it would take to replace them.
The study will cost taxpayers about $8,000.
The firm, which gave a presentation last month, was competing with a Hatfield architecture firm known as KCBA, which designed the three-year Pottsgrove High School expansion and upgrade.
The building study came about in the wake of the commissioners’ rejection — 10 months and one election ago — of the $2 million bid for a new public works garage on Heather Place.
The rejection came as the result of an outcry by residents that the cost was too high.
Resident Charlie Albright told the commissioners the study should have been done before $100,000 was spent on design for new highway garage which is no longer going to be built.
But while the bid for the garage may have been rejected, one pressing need
at that site requires immediate attention — the township’s crumbling wooden salt shed.
The plan had been to erect a new one which ultimately could have been moved if necessary should the building study suggest something for that site.
But the commissioners learned that only one bid was received and, at more than $76,000, was about $21,000 more than they were expecting.
Township Manager Carol Lewis said the bidders told her the price on the steel and concrete structure went up because of President Trump’s tariff’s on Canadian steel.
Board Vice Chairman France Krazalkovich said he did not want to vote on
a project that received only one bid.
As an alternative, Lewis said the board might want to consider a more traditional wooden pole barn structure, the downside to that being that once built, it would be more difficult to move.
Since the bid on the original structure is good for 60 days, the board decided to investigate the alternative structure and make a decision when they could compare the two prices.
But time is running out, noted Commissioners’ Chairman Trace Slinkerd, who said construction needed to be completed soon so it could be used for the coming winter.
Upper Pottsgrove Commissioners remain unresolved about how to replace the township’s crumbling salt shed.