Only one firm could help the city government navigate its deal with private developers to renovate Lansdowne Park, according to the top city manager, and it doesn't come cheap.
The company: Graham Bird & Associates. The price tag: $2.8 million (and maybe more). Competition for the work: None.
Documents obtained for the Citizen by access-to-information specialist Ken Rubin say Bird's firm is to be paid $1.776 million for its work on the Lansdowne redevelopment plan between July 2010 and the end of December 2013, broken into chunks that match the project's stages. With sales tax of $230,879.99, the bill for the 3½ years of work is $2,006,879,99.
Bird and his team worked on the file before that, though, and e-mails between city purchasing officials trying to decide how to bill for and record the work indicate that there's an "invoice history" up to June 2010 of $792,341, suggesting a grand total of about $2.8 million.
The documents predate the project's conclusion date slipping by two years, but in a written statement city spokesman Michael FitzPatrick said the longer timeline shouldn't mean the city pays more money: "The overall cost of the contract will not increase regardless of the schedule delay," he wrote.
Bird wouldn't speak to the Citizen to discuss just what the city gets for the money, but of course it doesn't just buy the services of Graham Bird himself: he's the head of a consulting firm with seven staff listed on its website, and they all need to be paid.