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    Default New Guy Questions.

    We have been awarded an AFG grant for Sprinklers for 2 stations, Back Up Generator, and exhuast removal system. This is my first award! Everything went out for bid per city regulations and we opened them Monday. The bids all came back higher than what was originally budgeted for. We are about $8200 shy. We are going to ask the budget and finance committee to give us this money, but if for some reason they don't, what do we do? Do we re-bid it? Do we just eliminate a project?(ask for an amendment?)

    Second, Can someone explain the process in English for me on how we recieve the monies? Do we spend it then ask for reimbusment? or do we ask for the monies up front?(I have read the PG several times, I'm just a dumb fireman who needs this stuff explained to)

    I know these are some stupid and really simple questions for you the Pros, but thats why I'm here. I want to learn from you. Thank you in advance for all of your help.

    Jeff
    jeffhardyjr@gmail.com

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    I think there's a guy close to you that deals with some grants....I will try to drum up his info for you...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhardyjr View Post
    We have been awarded an AFG grant for Sprinklers for 2 stations, Back Up Generator, and exhuast removal system. This is my first award! Everything went out for bid per city regulations and we opened them Monday. The bids all came back higher than what was originally budgeted for. We are about $8200 shy. We are going to ask the budget and finance committee to give us this money, but if for some reason they don't, what do we do? Do we re-bid it? Do we just eliminate a project?(ask for an amendment?)

    Second, Can someone explain the process in English for me on how we recieve the monies? Do we spend it then ask for reimbusment? or do we ask for the monies up front?(I have read the PG several times, I'm just a dumb fireman who needs this stuff explained to)

    I know these are some stupid and really simple questions for you the Pros, but thats why I'm here. I want to learn from you. Thank you in advance for all of your help.

    Jeff
    jeffhardyjr@gmail.com
    They certainly are not stupid questions. This is a situation that we all worry about. That is why I always try to pad the pre submission quotes within the narrative and application.

    You might try and send out the bids to other companies that are interested, but I would think that your city government would be way better off in helping out with the difference. It is a chunk, but it could be worse. You could have taken the bid, and the vendor start the installation and then dump the unfinished project. A lot of cities encounter that.

    Present it to the town officials and see if they can help. Then give it back to your department so they can be mad at the city council for not supporting the department. Your still in a 'winning' position if you pass the balance to the rest of those involved.

    Remember, playing the political position can be very advantageous.

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    Was there one part of the bid package that came in above your expected pricing ? Or was it a little on all parts of it?
    If it is all across the board , did you have estimates when you submitted your app and the manufacturers have had price increases since?

    Many times if you explain to all the vendors that submitted bids that they are all over the allowed cost and to sharpen the pencil because you are going to rebid it will get them to cut their margins a little.
    If they want to win the project they will settle for a little less profit margin.
    If it is one part such as the vehicle exhaust system then you could refuse to accept that part of the funding : BUT it will not look good in your file and may have future negative consequences for grant apps you might file.

    Now if that doesn't work, then you need to explain to the town fathers how good a deal this is for them , getting the majority of the project paid for with a little help from them. I'm guessing that it must be in the neighborhood of 100k for a project of this size, so them coming up with an additional $8200 is still a great deal.

    As far as getting the funding: Once you have placed the order and expect to have it in hand and installation completed within 30 days then you submit for the money to be sent to your bank acct. electronically. They don't want to see that the feds money sat in your accounts drawing interest, On smaller items we often pay up front and get reimbursed, but for larger invoices we get them to send it in the 30 day window of when we need it to pay the invoice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    If it is one part such as the vehicle exhaust system then you could refuse to accept that part of the funding : BUT it will not look good in your file and may have future negative consequences for grant apps you might file.
    Not even sure that would fly. The entire project was funded due to the agreement of peers that this was a solution. Removing any part of the project could have negatively affected the scoring. If you accept the award, you're stuck with it.

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    You always have the option to tell them exactly what your budget for the project item is- not really competitive bidding, but it is a way of seeing who really wants your business. Since all the bids cam in over your budget, you are going to have a tough time getting the bids significantly under budget, in my opinion...

    You could also finance a project for a few years depending on how large your annual budget is... 8200 is not much on a 100k project when spread over 2-4 years. Talk to local banks to see if they will do a low/no interest loan.

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    The issue you have is that the project must be completed as awarded. The choice is simple accept or reject the grant. An amendment will not fly unless there are some extenuating circumstances such as someone donates an emergency generator. But that will not change the fact the bids came over budget, it will only reduce the amount needed to be made up.

    It will not hurt to reject the bids due to costs and rebid the projects. The manufacturers could sharpen their pencils and provide a more competitive bid. It doesn't mean that that the bids will come in under budget, but maybe at a level that the Town can afford to make up.

    The other thing is you have 1 year to complete the project. Maybe it spans 2 fiscal years. If it does, see what the Town can afford in the current fiscal year to complete and finish the rest the next fiscal year. This allows the Town to budget the remainder in the next fiscal year without taking funds from the rainy day accounts etc.

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    Default Be creative

    Are there ways you can trim money like have the local public works dig the trench for the sprinkler pipe, or do the prep for the generator pad? Is there any labor your staff can and are willing to do? Just a few ideas it doesn't sound like your too far off. My guess is they will nto look very favorably upon deleating part of the project since it seem was reviewed as a package . Good luck
    Mark

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    Regarding 1yr window that is correct. But I'd suggest getting ordering done before Dec 1. With energy pricing going up we're likely to be in same situation as 07/08 were prices were going up quickly. In particular transportation costs. You're likely seeing 2-5% price increases for 2011. I would not be surprised to see mid year price increases in 2011. Certainly see price for 2012. So if delay stay on top of what might be happening with prices. Most suppliers know at least 30days out and will lock in bids of 30days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Regarding 1yr window that is correct. But I'd suggest getting ordering done before Dec 1. With energy pricing going up we're likely to be in same situation as 07/08 were prices were going up quickly. In particular transportation costs. You're likely seeing 2-5% price increases for 2011. I would not be surprised to see mid year price increases in 2011. Certainly see price for 2012. So if delay stay on top of what might be happening with prices. Most suppliers know at least 30days out and will lock in bids of 30days.
    Oh, that's right. When sept. '08 came, Galveston had a hurricane adding to the already higher gas prices. With almost $5.00 gal pricing and stations out of fuel, vendors got a little sticky with freight and shipping expenses. I almost forgot about that.

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    I would reject all the bids and tell them all to resharpen the pencil. Tell them all they are about 10,000 over your funds. They don't need to know the exact 8200. If they want the business they will come down in price. I know you have a year to do this but I would not sit on it with the way prices are increasing on metals and other things.

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    admpaul is right on. First let the bidders go to war with each other. Publicly reject all bids as too high and reopen the bid process again for another 30 days giving everyone a chance to re-bid. You don't have to tell them squat about how far out of bid price they were; just simply state "all bids were higher than project costs and available funding would allow".
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Ok so let me make sure I understand this,
    1. It's all or none on the grant, I can't remove 1 project.
    2. They do the work, We request the money from FEMA, then pay them ASAP.

    We, Chief and I, have a meeting with the Finance Director, City Administrator, and Mayor tomorrow morning. We are going to ask the City to cover the difference, or do some of the digging, and some of the other work to make up the difference. Hopefully they will go for it.

    When we figured costs I guess I didn't take into consideration the water main from the street to the building......lessons learned.

    Thanks for everyones help.

    A speacial thank you to MCFDRICHEY!! I owe ya Brother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhardyjr View Post
    Ok so let me make sure I understand this,
    1. It's all or none on the grant, I can't remove 1 project.
    2. They do the work, We request the money from FEMA, then pay them ASAP.

    We, Chief and I, have a meeting with the Finance Director, City Administrator, and Mayor tomorrow morning. We are going to ask the City to cover the difference, or do some of the digging, and some of the other work to make up the difference. Hopefully they will go for it.

    When we figured costs I guess I didn't take into consideration the water main from the street to the building......lessons learned.

    Thanks for everyones help.

    A speacial thank you to MCFDRICHEY!! I owe ya Brother.
    jhardyjr,

    I ran into similar problems and this is what I did, (and how I learned)

    Our washer extractor: Amount awarded and asked for $4500 actual cost was about 5500, we ate the difference - no big deal on that one because it was something we needed and were happy to get what we got. Our situation is different in the regards that if I estimated poorly and things changed based on pre award bids I had some cushion room, but not a lot...

    Generator: amount awarded was 25,000 and amount of generator after going out to bid was 23500 something but, and this is a big but, the cost of installation was, after competitive bidding, 9800 (public building so many rules had to be followed etc...) - so the Board of Fire Commissioners had to eat this and it had to go out for a public referendum to make up the difference out of their capital improvement fund.

    Now the board of fire commissioners is not too happy... (But that is another story)

    So the final part of my grant was for PPE and after asking around a little when I sent out the bid packets I broke each part of the PPE down as to what it cannot exceed based on the amount that I was awarded - I was not sure how this was going to work out and some people cautioned me against it but others said to give it a shot. After the bids came back in most bidders were below the amount by a lot and I had some extra money in the line to "exercise option 1" after we picked a vendor/manufacturer that met our needs, delivery time, and most importantly specifications.

    This was my first grant award. This forum was very helpful for me, and so was my "FEMA Regional Representative".

    -NoCoFire

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post

    Generator: amount awarded was 25,000 and amount of generator after going out to bid was 23500 something but, and this is a big but, the cost of installation was, after competitive bidding, 9800 (public building so many rules had to be followed etc...) - so the Board of Fire Commissioners had to eat this and it had to go out for a public referendum to make up the difference out of their capital improvement fund.
    Got it now..
    Last edited by LVFD301; 03-31-2011 at 02:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    This is a typo right? Or the board is upset it cost less?

    First off let me say that I am new at this...

    No they were upset that the total cost of generator and installation was about 33,000 way more than the award of 25000. In the end it worked out fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NoCoFire View Post
    First off let me say that I am new at this...

    No they were upset that the total cost of generator and installation was about 33,000 way more than the award of 25000. In the end it worked out fine.
    No one said I could read....... Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    No one said I could read....... Thanks
    Good news is that we now have the generator installed and all of the electrical work complete. The vendor came up and started the Generator on Tuesday and provided training to the department, included in the project scope. About 9 members showed up, some community members and some members of the highway department. A good showing for the middle of the day in a rural area (Volunteer). When I bid the generator I included 5 years of a comprehensive maintenance program. I know a generator is not a big deal for many departments but this is big for us. Prior to this..... well you do the math. -NoCoFire
    Last edited by NoCoFire; 04-01-2011 at 08:08 PM. Reason: my proof reading skills are poor

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    I might be wrong on this but I thought you could not include extended warranty on a grant item. I know you can put in for extra maintenance.

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    Thanks for all of the help everyone. We contacted FEMA and they told us to submit an amendment. That will have to get approved, and we will be good to go. The city still has to come up with a little bit more cash. I go Monday to ask for it. I have a good feeling that they will go for it. We shall see. Thanks again. Hope this helps someone else

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    What would you be amending?

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    We wrote the grant with 4 projects. 2 projects (Generator and Exhaust System came back lower than what was budgeted, 2 ( Fire Spriklers for 2 Stations) came back higher than budgeted. We asked to move excess funds from the first 2 projects to the Fire Sprinklers to help complete all of these projects.

    FEMA did grant us our Amendment Request.

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    So you're still completing all the projects you requested, correct?

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    Yes we are still completing all of our projects.

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