Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No-bid contract on Brooksville cleanup swells past original cost

BROOKSVILLE — In 2005, Hernando County agreed to a no-bid, $77,051 contract with a consultant to help with the cleanup of the contaminated public works site in Brooksville.

Since then, a dozen supplemental agreements have boosted the contract's value to more than $2 million, as the total outlay for county taxpayers on the project has topped $4 million.

And the cleanup has yet to begin.

This week, county officials put the brakes on yet another request to expand the contract and add $45,500.

An assistant county attorney warned that approving the change would violate a policy set several months ago.

During the summer, County Administrator David Hamilton told county officials involved in the project that "no further supplemental contracts were to be assigned to (the consultant, Creative Environmental Solutions) without the issuance of a bid solicitation,'' assistant county attorney Erica Moore reminded Hamilton in a memo this week.

The request for the supplemental agreement was on Tuesday's County Commission agenda, and Moore noted it "seems contrary to the policy decision you made a few months ago.''

Moore added that the request is untimely. After the state agreed that the county's assessment of the contamination at the former public works compound was done, neighbors in the Mitchell Heights community sought a hearing to fight that decision.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is determining whether that complaint is legally sufficient to forward to the state Division of Administrative Hearings, DEP spokesman Doug Tobin said this week.

The next phase of the project, designing and implementing a cleanup plan, could be delayed for months, county officials have warned.

The toxic mix of petroleum products, arsenic and solvents were uncovered on the site two decades ago. In recent years, the county has spent about $4 million on project consultants.

In an e-mail to assistant county engineer Gregg Sutton, Moore noted "this is the 13th change order to an original contract which did not go out to bid.''

She also asked if the new work to be done, which includes more soil testing, is covered under the original $77,051 contract.

Sutton replied that professional service agreements have "supplemental agreements" rather than change orders. "As a supplemental agreement, it would not be bid out,'' Sutton wrote. "This work is required by FDEP and ... has been approved by them.''

Moore said that additional information, such as the DEP's letter of approval, was needed. She asked if there will be additional costs from the consultant.

Sutton said there would be, but not "until we move into the remediation phase."

Commissioners delayed discussion until their next meeting Tuesday at the request of Public Works Director Charles Mixson.

Hamilton said the delay shouldn't be significant given that the county is still waiting for the DEP to decide whether to bring the neighbors' complaints to an administrative law judge.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

No-bid contract on Brooksville cleanup swells past original cost 12/09/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.