Hendry to hire large firm to perform code enforcement

CLEWISTON — Hendry County will contract with Calvin, Giordano, & Associates Inc., a Florida firm with an office in Estero, to perform code enforcement and, in a pinch, building inspection services for the planning and zoning department.

Although total costs will be unknown until a contract is drawn up, staff said they found the rates to be favorable.

The county had sent out a request for proposals (RFP) last month, and the two companies that submitted one was automatically narrowed because GFA International Inc. did not include a proposal for code enforcement services, which was the county’s main reason for the RFP in the first place.

The Hendry County Board decided earlier in 2019 to switch the majority of its code enforcement cases to a special magistrate rather than a county court judge, frustrated by delays in cases that had been in the pipeline sometimes up to several years.

The selection committee consisted of Margaret Emblidge, the county planning and community development director; Gary Hull, City of LaBelle public works director; and Debbie McNeil, with Clewiston’s Code Enforcement Department. They met Oct. 31 to rank the companies and selected Calvin, Giordano, & Associates, Inc. Calvin, Giordano & Associates, which has extensive experience with both building inspector and code enforcement services.

The company submitted a cost proposal of $125 per hour for building inspector services and $70 an hour for code compliance services.

After a motion was made and seconded to accept the CG&A proposal, Commissioner Karson Turner asked what staff members were thinking as far as limiting costs.

“Do you have a base number of hours, or did you give him a number ‘not to exceed,’ I guess?”

The staff report said the final fiscal impact is unknown until staff negotiates a final contract with CG&A Inc. The proposed contract will be brought back before the board later for approval.

Ms. Emblidge replied: “For the code enforcement services, we’re looking to utilize him for sweeps that we have scheduled coming up, and we have a not to exceed of $25,000 at this point. For the building inspections, that’s going to be an ‘as-needed’ (service). We don’t have a top for that, but because that’s an enterprise fund we didn’t feel like we needed to.”

She added, “We do have money budgeted for contract work,” but she couldn’t remember what the number was, saying the department would use the contract services “when we have a lot of inspections and we’re not able to keep up.”

Mr. Turner asked County Administrator Jennifer Davis if they’d ever done it that way with other services, and she answered, “We’ve never done it exactly like this before.

“I’m loking forward to seeing how it works out,” Mr. Turner said.

Ms. Emblidge chimed in, “I am, too.”

The vote was 5-0 to authorize staff to prepare a contract with Calvin, Giordano, & Associates, Inc. subject to the county attorney’s approval, to be brought back to the board again later.

Chris Felker can be reached at cfelker@newszap.com

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