Sprinkler system at Millville town hall goes into design phase

The Millville Town Council voted this week to spend $7,500 to have a Wilmington company design a fire-suppression system for town hall. The council for years has talked about the sprinkler system, and the Town has had money budgeted for design and installation of such a system since last year.

“Wayman’s was in line of what we thought,” said Councilman Robert Gordon, who picked up the lead role on the project after former Councilman Richard Thomas, who had spearheaded the project, died in April 2012.

“This gives us plans so we can go out to bid,” he said.

He said the design of a system would be a fee they would be charged anyway, whether Wayman’s was to be the final installer of the system or not, and getting two bids for just designing the system gave the council “apples to apples.”

A second company’s bid came in at almost twice the bid from Wayman’s.

“So, if we don’t go with them, this is the cost of doing business,” said Gordon.

“So, it gives us specifications for a notice to bid based on their design?” asked Town Manager Debbie Botchie.

“Yes,” answered Gordon. “Whoever comes in is going to charge a design fee. We will pay that no matter what.”

Councilman Jon Subity asked if it was possible that the company might design the system in a way that would limit other contractors being able to bid on and or complete the installation.

Councilman Harry Kent said nothing on their bid seemed proprietary and that that was what they needed to watch out for — to keep their options open.

“Sprinkler systems are not all that unique. It’s plumbing,” he said.

Botchie noted that, when the town hall was originally being built, the architect/engineer had a pre-bid meeting with prospective contractors/bidders that turned out to be a plus for the Town.

“The contractors had a lot of suggestions and changes that the architect ended up changing, even prior to bidding. It was very beneficial, I thought” she said.

She reminded the town council that they already had money budgeted in this year’s budget for the project, so the design fee would come out as a line item.

The council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to have Wayman Fire Protection of Wilmington, Del., design a system for them that the Town could then bid out to prospective installers.

The town council also voted this week on a resolution to allow the Town to authorize business owners to relocate their existing signs during the Route 26 Mainline Improvements project.

Botchie said that, in the near future, she plans on presenting to Millville businesses the Town’s new sign ordinance, so they can be clear on what a conforming sign looks like, compared to a non-conforming one. The resolution passed this week allows businesses to move their existing signs, even if they are non-conforming, to temporarily re-locate them during the project.

In the future, Botchie said, the Town will discuss a timeline under which signs will have to conform to the new ordinance.