By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
VISALIA – After almost 14 years the Tulare County Fire Department is ready to get a main station of their own. Last Tuesday, March 19, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to move forward on the Fire Station No. 1 south of Visalia but near the Transportation Operation and Maintenance Facility.
The Tulare County Fire Department’s move has been a long time coming, having planned for it since the department’s formation in 2006. Currently, the department headquarters is situated with CalFire. In an effort to strategically enhance the County’s public safety services, the new Fire Station will provide a permanent County-owned facility centrally located at Avenue 256 and Road 140.
According to the Tulare County staff report, the Fire Department hopes to move into their new digs by next March.
The County notes that the new station will have site improvement and new construction including, masonry, structural steel, rough carpentry, storefront system, metal roof panels, equipment and mechanical and electrical systems. The bid also included one alternate to provide a back-up generator which will provide electricity to the facility during a power outage, ensuring continuity of critical public safety services.
While the Board voted unanimously to award their contract to Forcum Mackey, they were not the lowest bidder. During the bid collection period Atkins Green had submitted the lowest bid at $3.9 million. However, according to the staff report, Atkins Green submitted an improper subcontractor list; they forgot to add an electrician.
“In these instances, the errors may be corrected within 24 hours of the bid opening. However, failing to list a subcontractor is not an excusable error,” the staff report stated.
“We noticed a clerical error…I called up [General Services Agency] and said they left off the electrician…we amended it and sent it off the next day,” said Ed Bergreen, co-owner of Atkins Bergreen.
Forcum Mackey submitted a bid protest which was recommended be upheld by staff and was ultimately upheld by the Board.
“Atkin’s failure to list subcontractors performing electrical and masonry work renders its bid nonresponsive and Atkins nonresponsible,” Forcum Mackey’s protest letter stated.
Forcum Mackey was slightly higher in their bid, submitting a $4,055,000 bid for Fire Station No. 1.
After a brief closed session discussion Supervisor Pete Vander Poel said he felt the protest was valid and motioned the move forward with the bid. Supervisor Amy Shuklian seconded the motion for the vote.