July 06, 2008

The real story behind turf fields

A recent letter (The Sun, June 29) contained considerable misinformation concerning the turf fields for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Below please find an accurate reflection of what has transpired related to this contract award.

First and foremost, this contract was issued to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder in a secured sealed bid procurement as mandated by county code.

This means the bidder met all requirements as advertised, including job-related experience as well as being fiscally responsible.

The bid package was designed to promote competition and quality assurance. The bid proposal required that the bidder perform at least 15 percent of the work outlined in the project manual, which relates to that broad competition.

A typical proposal from the county requires that at least 50 percent of the work be done by the bidder, but Purchasing and the Department of Public Works wanted to encourage bids by either earthwork contractors who would sub out the turf installation or turf installers who would sub out the earthwork.

As it turned out, the low bidder was an earthwork contractor that will save $594,000 over the life of the contract versus the next lowest earthwork contractor's bid.

Furthermore, Sunny Acres saves $2,343,000 over the life of the contract versus the lowest turf installer. Clearly, having a local earthwork contractor as the general contractor was the best value to the county.

The majority of this contract is site-related earthwork that requires substantial expertise, which the contractor has demonstrated to our engineering consultant. Additionally, the subcontractor that will perform the turf installation is equally proficient and has installed many fields throughout the region.

Additionally, Anne Arundel County required the contractor to post 100 percent performance bonds.

This protects the county in the event that the contractor cannot perform the job as required by the contract. This insures that taxpayer dollars are protected and concerns that were alluded to in the letter are not realized.

Lastly, the letter writer wrote, "Does anyone wonder why our county is broke?" Please be advised that under the leadership of County Executive John R. Leopold this county maintains a very healthy AAA bond rating and has cut millions of dollars in expenses in order to insure the county operates within its budgetary limits.

I can assure you, Anne Arundel County continually strives for cost-effectiveness in our dealings, and protecting taxpayer dollars is a fundamental tenet of our daily duties.

Fred Schram, Central Services Officer

Police advisory to conserve fuel

The Anne Arundel County Police Department advised all personnel of a fuel conservation advisory from County Executive John R. Leopold and Col. James Teare Sr., chief of police (The Sun, July 2). The advisory included a request to turn off the air conditioner while on patrol, except under circumstances of oppressive heat.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department regrets that it may have been interpreted as a cease order on all air-conditioning in patrol units.

The purpose of the advisory is to raise the consciousness of all police personnel that the funds used to pay for fuel are, in fact, taxpayer dollars that should be spent responsibly.

We should all be mindful of ways to conserve fuel and cut back on unnecessary usage during these tough economic times.

Maryland is subject to a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions and, often times, the weather is mild enough to allow for fresh air rather than air-conditioned. In addition, officers have long been encouraged to roll down their windows when patrolling communities and business districts in order to not only see, but hear potential criminal activity.

This initiative will encourage the increase of such patrols, thus increasing police presence in the community. We also recognize that our region experiences extreme heat during the summer and it should be known that the request to turn off the air would not apply under such circumstances.

County Executive John R. Leopold has long demonstrated his dedication to the safety of the county's personnel. The advisory issued last week is not intended to jeopardize the health or safety of police officers nor the level of service provided to residents of Anne Arundel County. Sgt. John Gilmer, Public Information Officer

Anne Arundel County Police Department

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