Extra funds pay final bills for port's new berth

mjohnson@bradenton.comFebruary 27, 2014 

PORT MANATEE -- A construction project that cost less than projected translated into leftover money for Port Manatee this week. At least for a few minutes.

On Tuesday, the port's commissioners voted unanimously to us a $369,000 funding overage from the port's Berth 12 wharf extension construction project to pay off last-minute bills from the project's contractor and one subcontractor.

The port paid Tampa contractor American Bridge $119,765 on a change order that was essentially a final tally of the last bills for the project. A second payment of $10,108 went to Tampa-based Florida Rock Industries for materials that went into the project. The money comes out of cash left over from state and federal grants and port funds that were dedicated to Berth 12 construction.

The original contract for the Berth 12 project was about $13.1 million. Because the port purchased construction materials for the project directly, American Bridge's contract was $8.5 million of the project total, according to port documents.

The port saved about $771,000 on sales tax exemptions in purchasing the materials itself. After subtracting earlier contract increases of $401,728, the port wound up with the cash overage.

The remainder from the overage will go to other port funds.

Tuesday's payments officially close the books on the project. Sixteen months of construction brought the 1,584-foot berthing wharf to the port, giving it room enough to establish two separate berths, Nos. 12 and 14. Berth 14 unofficially opened Jan. 16 when it received its first docking ship.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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