After bids, town officials still weighing pool design, costs

by Geoff Fox

After receiving five bids for the construction of a new municipal pool, town official were still unsure about the next steps in building the facility. Hancock has been without a town pool for the last three summer seasons.

Town Manager David Smith said if the town were to award to one of the five contractors, the contractor would have to produce all his documentation in the vetting for the pool person’s qualification.

The town’s engineer told Smith the contractor usually has two weeks produce that information and come back to the town.

“That’s a lot of money,” Smith said. “It’s not just that number.”

Town officials opened bids for the new pool on April 20. The five bids opened were from RAM Enterprise ($671,733) of Hancock, Callas Contractors ($825,000) of Hagerstown, Harbel, Inc. ($907,730) of Cumberland, and GRC General Contractors ($953,741) of Zullinger, Pa.

Around $80,000 has already been spent on the pool. That cost includes the demolition of the old pool and engineering.

Smith said he estimated the final cost of the pool would be just under $1.5 million.

Mayor Ralph Salvagno said town officials face two questions – whether to move ahead with the project and when.

“You make a decision yes/no – ‘Can you afford it? Can you not afford it?’ and then the question is ‘If you can afford it, can you afford it now based upon where we are with our reserve?’,” Salvagno said. “I think the most important thing is, can we afford this?”

Salvagno said officials could go back and rescale the project.

Smith said a pool builder told him a pool could be built with a liner cheaper than what the town has been looking for.

Councilman Levi Little was curious if the town would have to go through the same permit and bid process as before if they changed the design.

Smith said the town could negotiate with the contractor.

“I don’t like the idea of just skipping out on all the work we’ve already done for somebody to come in and it’s not going to meet the specifications,” Little said.

He said if that happens, it’s not the same pool that they’d be building.

“Why would we negotiate something that we didn’t even talk about in the first place?” Little said.

Salvagno asked Councilman Tim Boyer about approaching the YMCA as a potential partner in the pool project, saying they might have access to funds that the town doesn’t.

Boyer said he would talk to YMCA officials about such a partnership.

Town officials also talked about fees to use a future Hancock pool.

Smith said they could look at having a separate rate for in-town residents and out-of-town users.

He said the pool could fill with people at $3 a person, but it wouldn’t cover the costs.

“There’s just a lot of things that scare me,” he said.

Little said children should not be learning to swim in the Potomac River because it’s dangerous.

“We need a pool,” he said.

Officials unanimously voted to table to the pool discussion until the June 20 meeting so they can get better numbers and Boyer can come back with information from the YMCA.