The planned KOYT Radio “Spring Fling Dance,” originally planned March 25 in the Anza Community Hall is going to be rescheduled due to unexpected delays in Hall renovations originally scheduled for completion March 20.
Bill Donahue, KOYT 96.3 Radio spokesman and Hall renovation manager, gave this explanation of the unexpected delay due to the required time needed to submit construction bids by government grantors. The project is being funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant Fund with strict oversight by the grantors.
“We are at the mercy of the Grantor and their schedule,” explained Donahue. “As someone who was a contractor for 38 years it was not uncommon to bid a job on Wednesday, have the bid awarded and insurance certificates in place by Friday and have men working on that job the following Monday.
“We knew the government would not operate that fast so we allowed for three weeks between the bid award and job start rather than three days. The Grantor still could not meet that schedule. Now, at four weeks, they finally issued contracts but with them we received instructions that the contractor can’t start their work until we receive a Notice To Proceed from the Grantor.”
He continued, “The Grantor has controlled every aspect of this project. They even dictated which newspapers we were to print the Requests For Proposals. When we had no objections to any bidder, the Grantor selected the winning bids. When we purchased the materials a representative from the Grantor was with us at every step of the purchasing process. We are moving as fast as the Grantor will allow.”
He was happy to say, “The one thing we can control is the portion of the work not covered by the grant. Numerous volunteers have been working hard making improvements to the Hall.”
The volunteers have removed the old tile from the Hall floor and have covered fans and other equipment in the Hall kitchen and fans in preparation for putting new tile down on the floor. Additional floor support, making required Americans for Disability Act changes and other improvements are still to be completed with hired contractors approved by the grantors.
Donahue clarified a story on the Hall renovations that appeared in the Anza Outlook last week. He explains,
“The (Riverside County) Health Department corrections are not required so that the Hall can be used as a commercial business. In 2014 the County of Riverside determined that the kitchen in the Hall did not meet the criteria of a Nonprofit Kitchen and was therefore, by default a commercial kitchen. They required that the kitchen be permitted as a commercial kitchen or be closed and the Hall would have had to pay a $15,000 fine for having operated a commercial kitchen without a permit in 2014.
“Those conditions were all existent before this board was elected and before anyone was selling anything out of that kitchen. The renovations needed to meet those Health Department corrections would need to occur whether or not any commercial activity happened in the Hall’s kitchen. Had the Grantor allowed us to hire local contractors, paying local wages the grant amount would have left us only about $30,000 of the projected costs,” he said.
“We had hoped to bridge that $30,000 shortfall with volunteer labor. However, the requirement that the contractors be paid according to Federal Prevailing Wage rates means that the shortfall would be far more than $30,000. The federal government also demanded improvements be made to the existing handicap parking and ramp before we can add the much-needed ADA accessible bathroom. None of that work was in the original budget so the board of directors applied for additional funds. We have not heard if any additional funds are forthcoming,” Donahue concluded.