Council selects firms for recovery projects
by Jennifer Cohron
Jun 27, 2013 | 1615 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CORDOVA — The Cordova City Council approved four firms Tuesday night for its list of proposed disaster recovery projects.

The group of professionals will be the city’s partners in the pursuit of $49 million in federal funding that is now available to communities affected by the April 2011 tornadoes.

Huntsville-based Community Consultants will provide administrative services. President Peggy Matthews frequently works with the city on grant applications.

Gonzalez-Strength & Associates from Hoover will be overseeing the plan for infrastructure improvements, which is closely tied to the realignment of Main Street.

Mayor Drew Gilbert said the company’s experience in roadwork gave it the edge over other applicants.

“I think my favorite thing in their packet was the timeline they had created for themselves. It looked like they would have us some hard quote numbers by July, which is exactly what we need to get our application in on time with ADECA,” Gilbert said.

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, which is based in Birmingham, was selected for the police/fire facility. Gilbert said the city needed a company that could address several variables at the proposed construction site, the old Indian Head Mill property.

“We thought they possessed the best resources to get us a very educated answer quickly for the application process,” Gilbert said.

The resumé of CMH Architects, also Birmingham-based, impressed the panel enough to be recommended for the city hall/library project.

Gilbert added that each of the firms approved Tuesday night are taking a risk by using their own resources to assist the city with these projects before they have been funded.

“We feel very comfortable that we’re taking a good plan to the table, and obviously they do as well because they are agreeing to team up with us. But there will be no compensation for them except through the grant if we were in fact awarded the grant,” Gilbert said.

The city received 10 responses to its recent round of request for qualifications.

The packets were reviewed by a panel consisting of Gilbert, council member Bradley Grace, Bradley Vance of the Planning Commission, Josh Bagwell of the Cordova Economic and Industrial Development Authority and long-term recovery manager Steve Ostaseski.

In other action, the council

•adopted an amended resolution for the funding the city is receiving from the United States Department of Agriculture for sewer improvements. The initial allocation announced last August was more than $3.2 million, which included a loan as well as a grant.

Gilbert announced at the June 11 meeting that bids for the work came in $800,000 over budget and USDA had agreed to make up the difference with $580,000 as a grant and $220,000 as a loan.

Gilbert said that while processing the new paperwork, USDA officials found a mathematical imbalance.

“They increased our grant amount by $5,000 and decreased our loan amount by $5,000 to balance their spreadsheet out. We have to adopt the resolution again with the updated numbers,” Gilbert said.

•learned from Ostaseski that the process of closing out tornado-related projects submitted to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement has begun.

The city mistakenly received the funding it was entitled to for debris removal twice when the federal cost-share increased from 75 percent to 90 percent.

Ostaseski said after the meeting that the amount which must be paid back as a result of the mix-up, approximately $85,000, will be taken out of the money that the federal government still owes to the city for other projects.

•also learned that the city will be using approximately $18,000 of the insurance proceeds it received after the 2011 tornadoes to pay for geotechnical surveys and phase one environmental testing on sites for the proposed recovery projects.

•heard from Fire Chief Dean Harbison that the department’s phone line is temporarily out of service as the move from the old high school to the VFW continues.

The fire department is also planning a “Fill the Boot” fundraiser to be held downtown on July 20.

•heard a request from council member Warren Branch to waive the sewer charge on a recent water leak at the Texaco on Horse Creek Boulevard.

Mayor pro tem Ed Earp said the business owner would have to come before the council because his name is on the bill.

The manager of the Texaco was present at the meeting and said the owner is currently out of state.