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Lindvig Bridge plan must scale a major hurdle

POULSBO — No good deed goes unpunished. At least that’s what councilmen Ed Stern and Mike Regis deduced Feb. 1 when plans to beautify the Lindvig Bridge hit a major snag.

Bight of Poulsbo founder Bill Austin had been asked by several unnamed council members last fall if he would be interested in a beautification project for the bridge that divides Fish Park and Nelson Park on Lindvig Way.

Austin developed sketches and offered to do the project for less than $35,000 with the council’s approval, provided that the potential legal issues were addressed.

“Before we went forward with it, we wanted to find out if it is a public works project and (city attorney) Jim Haney said it definitely is,” Finance Director Nanci Lien told members of the council’s public works committee.

While Austin is offering to do the project for less than $35,000, a bid package needs to be prepared by a consultant, Lien said. However, if the consultant determines the cost to be less than $45,000, the project would not have to go out for bid.

“To have a consultant prepare the bid package would be $10,000 and the whole council has to say ‘yes,’” Lien said, noting that once the project went out for bid and if Austin had the low bid, he would be awarded the contract.

The scope of work would have to be determined by the council and show how it expects the project to be done, she said.

“That ensures who bids on it will give us what we want,” Councilman Jeff McGinty said.

Former public works director Jeff Lincoln, who is now a consultant for the city, said the consultant cost is not part of the actual project cost, so it would not factor into the $45,000 threshold.

“The whole point of this is to avoid the appearance of the city entering a sweetheart deal,” Stern said. “Everybody has a fair shot.”

The next step would be for the committee to see, if a consultant is hired, how the council should proceed, Stern said.

The council needs to define a clear path with a range of costs before proceeding, Regis added.

“All good deeds don’t go unpunished,” Regis said.

At the end of the discussion, McGinty said he would recommend to the council’s finance committee that it come up with $10,000-$20,000 to fund a consultant for the project.

“This is a very complex process and it’s very important to make sure everybody stays legal,” Lincoln said.

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