Bryon Yoder, an architectural consultant, and Ocean City Housing Authority Executive Director Jacqueline Jones review the bids for the proposed project. By Donald WittkowskiConstruction bids for a $4.2 million senior citizens housing complex proposed by the Ocean City Housing Authority came in Thursday at far above the project’s price tag.Clearly disappointed with the bids, grim-faced authority officials said they will consider their options as they move forward with the project.“That’s a good assumption,” Richard Ginnetti, a housing authority consultant for the project, said when asked if the bids were too high.Only two bids were submitted by companies seeking the construction contract. Gary F. Gardner Inc., of Medford, N.J., submitted a bid of $5,767,000, while Fabbri Builders Inc., of Vineland, N.J., came in at $5,831,473.Ginnetti, principal with the consulting firm The Brooke Group, said the high bids don’t mean the project is doomed or will necessarily be delayed. He explained that the authority anticipated that the bids would exceed the estimated construction cost.“We built it into our schedule,” he said. “It’s not unexpected.”Among its options, the authority would be free to reject the bids and seek new ones. Ginnetti indicated the agency may have some leeway in negotiations with contractors on “alternate bids” that could change the scope or price of the project.“This is a complicated project,” he said.The new project would replace the flood-prone Pecks Beach Village senior citizens housing complex on Fourth Street.The opening of the bids Thursday culminated more than a year of planning and discussion for the complex.The project has been touted as one of the symbols of the authority’s recovery from an embezzlement scandal last year involving its former executive director, Alesia Watson, who was fired after pleading guilty. Federal prosecutors estimated the authority lost between $6,500 and $15,000 in the embezzlement scheme, which resulted in Watson being sentenced to three years of probation.The authority implemented a series of management and financial reforms following Watson’s firing, including the hiring of a new executive director, Jacqueline Jones. At the same time, it continued to push ahead with plans for the new senior citizens housing project.Assuming there were no problems with the construction bids, the authority had hoped to award the contract within 30 to 45 days so that it could start the project this year and finish it by late 2019.The proposed two-story building will include 20 units of affordable housing for senior citizens. It will replace the authority’s flood-prone Pecks Beach Village senior citizens housing complex on Fourth Street.Pecks Beach Village was swamped by storm waters from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, underscoring the need to build new housing in a location less vulnerable to flooding. It continues to suffer from flooding during storms and even in high tides, Jones said.The new building will be constructed on what is now a parking lot adjacent to the authority’s Bayview Manor housing complex at Sixth Street and West Avenue. Funding for the project comes from a federal Hurricane Sandy recovery grant.A parking lot next to the Bayview Manor housing complex at Sixth Street and West Avenue will be the location of the new project.The project will be elevated on pilings to protect it from flooding. Jones noted that the pilings are expensive, the principal reason why it would cost an estimated $4.2 million to build 20 units of housing.The old complex will be demolished after the new building is ready. The authority adopted two resolutions at its May 15 board meeting that are needed for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approval to build the new complex and demolish the old site.Senior citizens who already live in Pecks Beach Village will be transferred over to the new housing complex when it opens.Pecks Beach Village also includes a 40-unit complex for low-income families. That part of Pecks Beach will remain open after the new project is built. Jones said the family section of Pecks Beach sits on slightly higher land than the senior citizens complex and does not flood as much.The Ocean City Housing Authority uses federal funds from HUD to provide affordable housing for low-income senior citizens, families and the disabled at its Pecks Beach Village and Bayview Manor facilities.