Commissioner questions Port of Tacoma reroofing expense

Staff writerApril 18, 2013 

Port of Tacoma Commissioner Connie Bacon on Thursday questioned the necessity of the port spending more than $476,000 planning the reroofing of three port buildings.

Bacon, who in recent months has taken issue with port fees paid to outside consulting firms. said she found such an expenditure high for what should be fairly straightforward jobs.

“I don’t get it why we have to spend another half-million dollars planning for roofing jobs,” she said at a Thursday port commission meeting.

Dakota Chamberlain, the port’s director of engineering, said consultants are needed to draw up specifications so that the port could take bids for the jobs.

Those same consultants, he said, will provide design help if the roof removals uncover any structural deterioration that must be repaired.

Three buildings will be targeted for reroofing: a structure at 2000 Taylor Way, a building at 3319 Lincoln Ave., and a port-owned structure at 401 Alexander Ave. occupied by military boatbuilder Safe Boats and an industrial coatings company.

The buildings were identified as priority needs for repair by another consultant study that is cataloging all of the port’s buildings and properties and establishing a methodical plan for maintaining and updating those properties.

Port Commissioner Don Johnson, a retired Simpson Paper Co. executive, said that in his former job, he would solicit bids for repair jobs and then let the company’s own engineering staff handle any design and repair issues that emerged during the construction phase.

Johnson acknowledged, however, that public entities such as the port must do formal bidding and thus require more detailed plans and specifications before they can solicit quotes from repair contractors.

The port estimates that the roofing projects will cost in excess of $3 million.

Bacon voted to approve the consulting deal, but asked the port staff to brief her why such expenses are necessary. Bacon this year has raised questions about several other consulting deals involving port environmental cleanup and remediation project planning.

John Gillie: 253-597-8663

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