Council plenary session awards municipal swimming pool contract despite PP abstention

PP’s Rosa Cardona explained that her party was concerned about both the funding and the actual award of the contract.

Saturday 31st July 2021 – XÀBIA AL DÍA with Mike Smith

The final award for the hiring of the contractor to build the long-awaited municipal swimming pool has been confirmed at the latest council plenary session held on Thursday, with Contrators Valor SL set to start construction in the autumn. The award was confirmed with the support of most of the corporation with the exception of the Partido Popular which abstained.

The PP spokesperson, Rosa Cardona, made it clear that her party wants the swimming pool to be built but rather that it disagreed with both the funding of the project and the actual award of the contract. “If you have read the technical report, you will be as concerned as we are,” she said. “Do you think it is normal for this company to be the winner with a difference of 83,000 euros compared to the rest of the proposals, obtaining the lowest technical score and with a municipal report with many marked deficiencies?

She added that although the PP did not doubt that the process had been carried out correctly, the party regretted that the price had been the decisive factor (it is the part of the bid assessment process that attracts the most weight in the scoring) and not the technical aspect which, in her opinion, should be given greater consideration, considering what has happened with other projects. “We don’t know what we can expect from this award,” she warned, asking if the council could not have suspended the decision so that the company could solve the deficiencies in its proposal.

The only positive thing we see is that a contract has been tendered for a project manager to supervise the work, surely, for fear of what might happen,” she said, although she asked why this specific contract is to be awarded externally when the council has qualified architects and there are no major municipal projects ongoing at the moment in Xàbia.

Chulvi: We are subject to what the Contract Law says

Mayor José Chulvi responded that all municipal projects are supervised by external companies, including the auditorium, adding that the municipal technical department monitors the projects and the work being carried out by the contractors. “In projects of this type, what is usually done is to create a specific commission that meets periodically. It is not something special and exclusive to this project“.

Regarding the financing of the swimming pool, the mayor said that he wouldn’t want to be addressing this issue in 2021 when the infrastructure should have already become a reality – like the municipal trinquet – and that the main issue should be any improvements that needed to be made. He was clearly eluding to the fact that the council had signed an agreement with the Generalitat Valenciana back in 2005 in which the autonomous government would fund the building of a municipal swimming pool in Xàbia in return for the local council providing the finance to build a new trinquet, a specialized court for the playing of Valenciana pilota. The trinquet was opened in 2010 but the Generalitat, which at the time was under the leadership of the PP, failed to honour its side of the agreement.

Regarding the concerns of the PP spokesperson, the mayor explained that the assessment cannot be done separately and that this type of project could not be put out to tender as agreed by one party or another. “We are subject of what the Procurement Law says and, in the end, it is an overall assessment for both parts [of the tender]. I don’t want it to appear that the project is given to the company with the lowest score. The successful bidder is the one with the highest score“.

The mayor snapped at Cardona that if she had handed the contract to a company with the lowest score, it would not be endorsed by the assessment board (because, overall, it doesn’t achieve the highest score) just because one of part of the proposal obtained a high score. “We can’t skip what the law says and if a company had come forward that offered a discrepancy somewhere else, we would have had to leave it anyway because it has the right and it could be the successful bidder. Is this what we want? Surely not“.

In a bid to reassure Cardona, councillor Ximo Segarra (Contracts) explained that “this contract is quite pioneering and contains quite powerful sanctions“.

Escrivá: We have doubts about the feasibility study of the pool

Enrique Escrivá from Cs’ Xàbia commented that he was not clear on a question that had already been raised previously around the 748,000 euros that were estimated to be paid in the first year of operation of the pool in terms of passes and that if it had been planned, since the director and lifeguard were council staff, as stipulated in the project feasibility study.

On the first question, councillor Alberto Tur (Sports) was willing to review the detailed numbers with Escrivá “in case the accounts did not go well“, adding that there would be time to tackle the issue of hiring skilled personnel.

Vicent Colomer and Juan Ortolá defend their role as former Sports Councillors to advance the project

Vicent Colomer of Compromís acknowledged all the opinions expressed on this point, but, above all, highlighted the step forward involved in the award of this project which began in 2005 and emphasized the need to have a good sports and social management project to make it a success. “Here we are not going to make money with the pool as we do with a library. We are going to lose as little as possible and excite and give an answer to the people. We must congratulate ourselves“.

Juan Ortolá from Ciudadanos por Jávea, picked up the baton of Colomer and his comment going back to 2005 since, at that time, he was councillor for sports and joined the Compromís representative in the congratulations because – at last – the council was meeting a long-standing public demand.