Two bids for different proposed construction projects in the city, which included a pedestrian and bike trail from Plaza De Toros to Dowitcher Lane and a bid for Patrician Drive drainage improvements, were rejected by the Spanish Fort City Council earlier this week.
Mayor Mike McMillan said the bids were rejected because the bids received came in exceedingly over budget projections.
“For the pedestrian and bike trail, our projection was around $467,000 and the low bid came in at $539,000,” McMillan said. “For the drainage improvements, we estimated a cost of $150,000 to $160,000 and the low bid came in at $354,000.”
McMillan said the city would look to readvertise the projects in the hopes of attracting more bidders.
Spanish Fort city leaders also unanimously passed an agreement with the city’s fire and rescue department for city funding in the coming fiscal year.
Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan said the budget for the department had increased over the last year.
“We’ve budgeted $680,000 for the coming year, where it was $540,000 the previous year,” McMIllan said.
McMillan said at a work session earlier this year that the increase would allow three additional full-time firefighters that would cost the city an additional $125,000 with insurance and cost of living adjustments included.
“The thought process with this is to take it to a 24 hour, seven day a week man power station,” McMillan said.
Spanish Fort Fire/Rescue Department Chief Roger Few told the council that optimum staffing for a fire truck is three or four people, but that the city could get by with two if the staffing additions were approved.
“With two, they could at least get the first truck in route and start the action while everyone else is assembling” Few said.
Councilman Curt Smith said he felt the budget increase was just a side effect of the city’s continued growth.
“The reality is this is going to get bigger and bigger even we’re just donating to a volunteer fire department,” Curt Smith said. “We have to expect this to grow as the city is growing. This is not a one-time this year. This is a reality that every year will increase, and this is probably going to be the baseline.”
McMillan said the city has been talking to the legislature questioning some of the service area allotted to the department in Loxley and other parts of the county.
“I think it’s wrong for the city to foot the bill in those areas, but at our table, we have got to be responsible for our citizens within the city,” McMillan said.