For more than a year, members of the Denison Community Housing Agency have been working to bring a Homes for Iowa house to the community to help meet the demand for low- to moderate-income housing.
Homes for Iowa is an Iowa Prison Industries affordable housing initiative. The houses are built near the Newton Correctional Facility by offenders, who are trained in the skilled building trades.
Before April 1 this year, the City of Denison, at the recommendation of the housing agency, signed a purchase agreement for one Homes for Iowa house for $75,000. The price includes delivery to the community, which in Denison’s case is a vacant lot along Avenue C. The April 1 date was important because after that the price increased by $5,000.
Another step in preparing the community for the house was approved by the city council last week. A quote to excavate and construct a basement was approved in the amount of $39,800. Frazier Contracting submitted the only quote.
The total quote of $41,300 included an amount of $1,500 for optional concrete footings and beam pockets, but City Manager/City Engineer Terry Crawford said he did not believe those would be needed.
Mayor Pam Soseman asked Crawford to explain the procurement process used to receive quotes on the basement because a member of the housing agency is the father of the person who owns Frazier Contracting. Lyle Frazier, a housing agency member, is retired and has not owned an interest in the business for a number of years.
Crawford said the city sent the plans and quote forms to at least four area contractors and Frazier Contracting, owned by Steve Frazier, was the only business that sent one back. Crawford continued that Steve Frazier did not know that others were not submitting a sealed quote, so he felt comfortable with the procurement process.
The engineer’s estimate for the basement was $40,000.
Crawford also addressed the amount of the quote compared to the scope of the work. The work includes building an egress window into the back side of the basement, cutting a foundation drain that will empty into a sump pit in the basement and cutting in a floor drain that will be tied into another sump pit. The work also includes pouring the basement floor and building the basement steps.
“We still feel the budget will come in at or under $160,000,” said Crawford.
He added that the city council approved the housing agency to spend $165,000 from the city’s low- to moderate-income fund.
Crawford said he hopes to have the plumbing quotes in hand before the housing agency’s June meeting. The city had already set a period to receive quotes, but the housing agency did not receive any by the deadline. Crawford said two sealed quotes came in after the closing of the quotes. The city re-opened the quote period and is letting other plumbers have an opportunity to submit quotes.
When the site for the house is prepared, a number of trees on the lot will have to be removed. Crawford said he received a proposal from Brian Kepford to harvest the wood from the trees in exchange for taking them down. Kepford is the brother of Councilwoman Jessica Garcia.
Soseman pointed out that scrub trees and bushes also need to be removed and that limbs on the remaining trees need to be trimmed.