SCRAA conditionally approves engineer agreement

Approaching the Pella Airport. (file photo)

by Charlie Comfort

Pella, Iowa- The South Central Regional Airport Agency met on Wednesday to consider approval of an airport engineer services contract with HDR Engineer Inc. The agreement will guide the SCRAA through the next phase of the project, which will include land acquisition and design of the airport. The SCRAA had previously been designated as the preferred engineer firm for phase two at their August meeting, and received approval from the FAA. Wednesday’s meeting was to approve an agreement with HDR and set terms for the next phase of the project.

At the onset of Wednesday’s meeting, rural Mahaska County Resident John Bandstra spoke. Reading a prepared statement, Bandstra stated that he was speaking on behalf of a Pella resident who could not attend the meeting. The statement addressed portions of the current 28E agreement, and inquired about the status of the current lawsuit to force Mahaska County to cooperate with the project.

“The current 28E agreement establishing this board does not contain any member conflict resolution activities,” Bandstra said. “Any construction planning that does not include input from all three parties is fundamentally flawed,” he added.

The statement also called for the SCRAA to release documents showing how money for the project is being spent.

“This board is spending our public money. We have the right to know where it goes, budgeted or not,” Bandstra said. “What areas of the project are hidden in the shadows?” he asked the board.

Bandstra also presented a hard copy of his statement to the board. The SCRAA then voted 4-0 to approve adding the statement into the minutes, at Bandstra’s request.

After public comments, Pella City Administrator and SCRAA staff member Mike Nardini went over the proposed master agreement with HDR Engineering Inc. Nardini said the master agreement will serve as a guiding document for the next phase of the project.

“The master agreement spells out the overall framework for the professional standards to be utilized by this board for the next phase of the project,” Nardini said.

Nardini said that going forward, the SCRAA will set “task orders”, essentially projects, to be completed during the next phase. The SCRAA will determine which order the task orders will be completed. Additionally, Nardini said there is a new process for the next phase. Any task order that will cost over $100,000 will require review by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This will extend the timeline for certain parts of the next phase.

“We need to build some lead time to gain an independent cost estimate and also get approval through the Federal Aviation Administration for that task order as well. There’s going to be additional lead time associated with it,” Nardini said.

During discussion, board members David Barnes and Pam Blomgren expressed some concerns over the $100,000 threshold for task orders, and how often the board should expect to have independent cost estimates completed. Jerry Searle, the main project consultant for phase two, said that independent cost estimates will begin to be necessary around the time of design of the airport.

“When the design process starts that’s most likely when you will be required to do an independent estimate, yes… Because those contracts to be well over $100,000,” Searle said.

Ultimately, the SCRAA voted unanimously to approve the master agreement. Nardini noted prior to the vote that the approval was conditional, and said that FAA likes to review master agreements and oftentimes recommend changes. The FAA does not specifically approve the master agreement.

After approval of the master agreement, the board discussed a future meeting date. Chairman Jim Hansen said a meeting will likely be needed in December to review and possibly approve some task orders.

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Posted by on Nov 17 2017. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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