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DREDGING COMMITTEE MINUTES:
Minutes of meeting
May 16, 2007
(THIS IS A PUBLIC DOCUMENT)
The Miami River Commission’s
(MRC) Dredging Working Group met as regularly scheduled on the third
Wednesday of the month,
I & II. Status of
Perez noted the ACOE received the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection’s executed modified and extended water quality certificate
Mr. Perez stated the ACOE’s Jacksonville District sent the Board of County Commissioners approved “Local Advance Funding (LAF) Agreement” to the South Atlantic Division, which forwarded it to ACOE Headquarters in DC. Mr. Perez stated he had provided two rounds of additional information requested by ACOE Headquarters related to the LAF, and believes they have all of the information necessary to approve the agreement. Mr. Kelly noted he believed the LAF had already been forwarded to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) Woodley for final signature. Mr. Kelly added the Senate & House were expecting to receive the required ACOE’s notification of the LAF agreement before the next AS is awarded. Mr. Perez noted it is not his understanding that the LAF had been approved and forwarded to ASA Woodley yet, and clarified that on May 8 the ACOE provided the required notification regarding the LAF to Congress.
Mr. Bibeau asked if the DSC April 2007 minutes had accurately reflected the LAF agreement approval process. Mr. Perez agreed, restating the ACOE’s Jacksonville District sent the agreement to the South Atlantic Division, which forwarded it to ACOE Headquarters in DC for approval, followed by transmittal to the County for the Mayor’s signature, and subsequently returning the signed agreement for Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) Woodley’s final signature, before the proffered previously appropriated local cost share may be spent faster than the pledged federal cost share balance due to complete the project. Mr. Bibeau asked for the estimated timeline for the County to approve the agreement, and Mr. Espinosa stated the agreement will be presented to a Board of County Commissioners subcommittee in June, followed by the full Board in July. Mr. Bibeau suggested all the project’s partners encourage the ACOE to expedite the process of executing the LAF Agreement, followed by the Contributing Funding Agreement, which is the only means to use the this additional currently appropriated local funding to continue dredging beyond AS 8, and hopefully avoid a costly potential second temporary demobilization in October.
Mr. Bibeau asked Mr. Skornick for the status of the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) grants. Mr. Skornick provided the following update:
Mr. Bibeau distributed the MRC DSC’s updated Miami River maintenance dredging project funding summary, and DERM’s “Miami River Dredging project – Cost sharing projections 2006” spreadsheet. Mr. Perez stated that $1.8 million of the $4.5 million appropriated for the project in the FY ’05 supplemental bill will be used towards the federal cost share to award AS 7 & 8. Mr. Bibeau noted if the remaining $2.7 million is spent evenly between the remaining 9 acceptance sections, an estimated $385,714 would be available per section, rather than the $500,000 calculated on the provided summary, due to the ACOE using $1.8 million of the $4.5 million supplemental appropriation towards Acceptance Sections 7 & 8. Mr. Bibeau noted the grand total currently appropriated and unexpended funding for the project is over $31 million. The MRC DSC concurred the currently appropriated $31 million plus an estimated $6 million federal FY ’08 appropriation, would provide sufficient funding to dredge acceptance section 7-12 of 15. Mr. Perez clarified that the final demobilization line item ($1.13 million) was already encumbered. Mr. Bibeau therefore noted the MRC DSC dredging funding summary should be further revised by reducing what the expected federal cost share balance due to complete the project would be upon reaching Acceptance Section 12 becomes $9 million to dredge the final three acceptance sections (AS 13-15).
Bibeau thanked the FL Legislature for their recent $5.8 million in
appropriations for the project, including the sponsors, Honorable
Representative David Rivera and Honorable Senator Alex Diaz de La
Portilla. Mr. Bibeau thanked
the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce for including the
Bibeau noted MRC staff has recently launched its annual Miami River
Dredging support letter campaign. Mr.
Bibeau noted draft dredging support letters respectfully requesting the
federal cost-share balance due, addressed to the Honorable Senator
Nelson, Honorable Senator Martinez, Honorable Senate Energy and Water
Chair and Ranking Members Reid and Dominici, Honorable House Energy and
Water Chair and Ranking Members Visclosky and Hobson, Honorable Rep.
Ros-Lehtinen, Honorable Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Honorable Rep.
Kendrick Meek, Honorable Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, Honorable Rep. Lincoln
Diaz-Balart, General Strock and OMB Director Portman, were provided to
staff of the County Commissioners, City Commissioners, marine industrial
businesses and GMCC. Mr.
Bibeau thanked Dr. Fran Bohnsack, Miami River Marine Group, Miami-Dade
County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez and Miami City
IV. Status of Removal of
Bibeau thanked the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for
removing the spans of the
V. New Business –
Mr. Pat Kelly, Weston
Solutions, expressed dissatisfaction with the costly procedure involved
with demobilization, and therefore preferred to remobilize only one last
time to complete the dredging project. Mr.
Kelly noted the Joint-Venture has submitted a request to the ACOE to
request an increase to the total contract costs, due to increased
sediments/rock found in AS 1-6. Mr.
Kelly stated although their contract expires in April 2009 (7 months
into FY ’09), there is a clause in the contract requiring no awards of
additional Acceptance Sections later than the last day of FY ’08,
September 30, 2008. Therefore,
FY ’08 is the last opportunity to secure the $26 million federal cost
share balance due to complete the project.
Kelly stated since the President only budgeted $4.5 million for
the project in FY ’08, a best case scenario congressional
appropriation would be an estimated $6 million.
Mr. Kelly estimated if remobilized now, they would complete
dredging AS 7-12 by May 2008 and since all the available funding would
be expended, they would incur their second demobilization, and since no
further federal fiscal years would be available, the contract would then
expire prior to the remobilization to dredge the final three acceptance
sections. Mr. Kelly added
the JV venture contract expires on
Kelly stated a modification to the contract would be considered only if
it was agreed that the JV would remobilize only one last time. Mr. Kelly
recommended ending the contract on
Though he expressed sympathy for the contractor’s situation, Chair Buermann stated that the MRC must operate under the best interests of completing the project and the tax payers. The DSC members noted the contract is with the ACOE, which is the only agency with the authority to decide when to remobilize their dredging contractors. Furthermore, the DSC noted as reported earlier in the meeting, millions in FIND grant awards would be jeopardized if the project remains demobilized. Chair Buermann noted the DSC will continue working together to obtain the remaining cost-share balance due to complete the project before the current contract expires in April 2009, which would result in further delays, and any new contract would most likely include an increased price per cubic yard dredged than the existing price, which was set when the current contract was executed in 2004. Futhermore, dredging AS 1-6 produced leftover funding, which is anticipated as dredging continues. Mr. Buermann stated the MRC and locals recognize that Mr. Kelly’s estimation that Congress will be unable to appropriate their entire $26 million in this contract’s final FY ’08 cycle is accurate. Therefore, Mr. Buermann noted for over a year the locals have been working towards providing the federal cost share balance due to complete the project under the current contract, without any guarantee of future federal appropriations after the project is done to repay this additional local cost share. This effort will hopefully avoid further demobilizations, in order to save tax payer funding by completing the project at the lowest cost possible, rather than incurring additional unnecessary demobilization costs, delays, and potentially contract cost increases per cubic yard removed.
Mr. Bibeau asked for the County’s status in applying for the federal grant opportunities for the project identified by the MRC, and Mr. Espinosa stated he would provide a status on the County’s applications to the federal grants during the June MRC DSC meeting. Mr. Bibeau distributed a Miami Today article entitled “State contributes $5 million for river dredging.”
Dredging subcommittee confirmed the next meeting for
The meeting adjourned.