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Differing opinions for school flashers could save city thousands

By Staff | Aug 16, 2010

A difference of engineering opinions could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars if city council approves buying school flashers for Trafalgar and Skyline at the cost of $45,000.
Assistant City Manager Carl Schwing told the council during its Monday workshop that the city’s and the Lee County School Board’s engineer disagree on the price.
Previously estimated to cost $270,000 by the city’s engineers, Schwing said Lee County is now offering six flashing signs at the total price tag of $45,000, and that more savings might be possible.
“We’re hoping this won’t be 45 (thousand), we’re hoping it will be lower than that,” Schwing said.
When pressed by Councilmember Erick Kuehn for the reason why there was such a drastic shift in price, Schwing said there were differing “philosophies” among the two groups of engineers.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail thought the city might be able to get the signs for free, but Councilmember Derrick Donnell warned his fellow board members not to temp fate, saying he’ll be voting to support the item next week.
He added that differing philosophies are not uncommon.
“It’s really not uncommon, just as we’ve seen lawyers have different interpretations … it’s not unusual when you have two bodies that disagree,” Donnell said.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz agreed, comparing the cost savings to purchasing a Mercedes when driving a Chevrolet will do.
“We need to move this forward … six times cheaper is just way too big to monkeying around with,” he said.
In other news, city staff might soon be able to visit Lee Memorial Health System’s employee health clinic at no cost.
The clinic – inside Cape Coral Hospital – will cost the city $25 each time an employee visits for minor health problems, and save the city over $90,000 in health care costs annually, according to Bonnie McFarland.
“It’s very convenient,” McFarland said. “It’s operated like a clinic, not like an emergency room.”
Negotiations are ongoing with Lee Memorial Health System, and the contract is still being discussed.
The clinic is serviced by a nurse practitioner.