Questions were asked. Answers were given. Statements were made. And after turning a one item agenda into an hour’s worth of sometimes spirited debate, the Salyersville City County opted for another re-bid.
At issue is a water main project the city has been dealing with for several months now, and used Monday’s special called meeting to again debate the matter.
The problem continues to be too much work for the available money and for the second time bids came in well over the city’s budget of just over $1 million.
Low bidder in the last round, Clems Construction, became a hot-button issue Monday when council member Tom Bailey suggested awarding the low bid.
Project engineer Kevin Howard, with Summit Engineers, claimed Clems was not a qualified bidder because of a lack of a bid bond and presented references that didn’t exactly provide glowing recommendations.
Howard said the advertisements called for the project to be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder, which would have been Southern Backhoe.
Howard had hoped to negotiate with Southern Backhoe, but said legal issues might prevent it. He recommended early in the meeting to re-bid the project.
The city’s attorney, Jeff Lovely, suggested the council either go with Southern Backhoe and try to re-negotiate or re-bid the project all together.
Funding for the project is coming in the form of a community development block grant, and restrictions regarding the grand award would not allow for negotiations with bidders, Howard said.
Bailey feared Clems Construction might cause the city legal issues if the project was awarded to a higher bidder and other council members expected a lawsuit from Southern Backhoe if Clems received the job.
Music and H2O were the other two companies submitting bids. All four, however, were higher than the project’s budget.
Howard, who admitted to “a bit of a problem project”, suggested trimming the project and re-bidding, which brought strong resistance from council member Jeff Ross.
Ross, who had earlier suggested going with the low bidder, balked at the suggestion of cutting a new water main for Combs Street from the package.
“This happens all the time,” Howard told Ross and other members. “Sometimes you can’t do all the things you want to do. And sometimes you have to do a project in stages as the money becomes available.”
When all was said and done, the council voted unanimously to trim some $300,000 from the project and re-bid it with the inclusion of a Combs Street line if any money remains.