Notes: Pensacola Committee of the Whole


Yesterday the Pensacola City Council met as the Committee of the Whole and its individual committees. Here are our notes on the meeting:

All city council and committee members were present.

The items discussed at the Feb. 25 Committee of the Whole meeting included the proposed Downtown Technology Park and, again, spirited discussion about the lack of city contracts going to minority business

The city’s 2007 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was audited by Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund, was also presented at the meeting.

The issue of minority contractors stemmed from the discussion of an Owner Direct Purchase Program for the Saenger Theatre renovation and the Pensacola Regional Airport Capital Program. The Owner Direct Program waives the city’s purchasing policies and allows the city to purchase materials to save the cost of sales tax.
Numerous audience and council members raised their concerns about minorities not receiving city contracts. Others said the program for the Saenger and Airport, which was later unanimously approved, hasnothing to do with how contractors are chosen and will save sales tax dollars.

Movement for Change’s Leroy Boyd was among the audience members who spoke passionately for more minority contractors for city projects. Councilman Hall said to Boyd: Unless you can “protect the integrity of
the vote, I just can’t help you anymore.”

In other business, the Neighborhood Services Committee unanimously approved a bid by Roads, Inc. of Northwest Florida to provide street and drainage improvements to six blocks of five city streets. The cost
is $281,430 with a 10 percent contingency. The funds will come from Local Option Gas Tax Revenue. A city memo notes there were five bids for the project, and Roads, Inc. was the “lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications.”

The Economic and Community Development Committee unanimously approved an Interlocal Agreement with Escambia County, the Pensacola Community Redevelopment Agency and the Pensacola Escambia Development Commission for the proposed Downtown Technology Park south of the Civic Center.

The Enterprise Operations Committee unanimously authorized another 10-year lease to Bob Cole of Bob Cole Automotive Imports for certain Pensacola Regional Airport property.

Penny for Progress funds for the Roger Scott Tennis Center was also discussed, and a bid was approved for streetscape improvements in North Hill, along North Spring St.

Henry Haire Building and Development, Inc. was awarded the over $244,000 contract, plus up to 10 percent for contingencies. The funds will come from the CRA Captial Budget.