Carbondale town board criticized for handling of contracts |

Carbondale town board criticized for handling of contracts

John Colson
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colorado – A Grand Junction concrete company has complained about how the town’s board of trustees handled a construction contract for sidewalks and other amenities around the Town Center II development site on Colorado Avenue.

In a letter to the trustees from All Concrete Solutions, the business owners Pablo and Benjamin Reyes criticized Trustee Ed Cortez, who was acting as mayor pro-tem at the July 12 trustees meeting.

At that meeting, the trustees confirmed they would award a construction contract to a local firm, Excavation Services of Carbondale, instead of All Concrete Solutions, to build sidewalks, curbs and gutters along Colorado Avenue and Sixth Street.

“Who do you think you are, Mr. Cortez?” the July 15 letter asked.

“You were rude beyond belief,” the letter continues, accusing Cortez of acting in a manner that was “condescending, rude and arrogant, not only to our company but to your constituents.”

Cortez, who said he had not seen the letter, told the Post Independent on Thursday that he feels the contract decision was justified because he and other trustees felt the taxpayers’ money should be spent locally and with a company known for good work.

As for the accusations made by the Reyes brothers, Cortez said, “To me, it felt like they weren’t exactly polite either, because they were getting upset.”

The town is having to complete the work of the bankrupted developers of the Town Center II, which is located across Colorado Avenue from Town Hall and the Carbondale Recreation Center.

To pay for the work, the town is using $159,500 from the developers’ letter of credit, which was required as a condition of development approval.

All Concrete Solutions was the lowest of three bidders for the work, at $148,518. The trustees opted to award the work to Excavation Services although it submitted the highest bid at $164,257. The middle bid, at $162,626, came from Kersten Construction of Rifle.

Cortez noted that Public Works Director Larry Ballenger reported having to do some “corrective math” on the All Concrete Solutions bid, bringing it up to $151,795.

“You expect exemplary work from people performing contracts for the town,” Cortez said. “Part of that is accuracy in detail, and attention to detail.”

Catching bidding mistakes, he said, “Just sends up red flags.”

Ballenger recommended that the town hire All Concrete Solutions, noting that a check of the company’s references “suggested that ACS was competent in their field” and the entities contacted “would not hesitate to hire them again.”

But Cortez maintained “the recommendations were not that favorable, were not glowingly positive,” which lead him to conclude they were not “the right group for the job.”

He said other trustees felt, as he did, that taxpayers’ money should be spent supporting local contractors and providing jobs to local citizens.

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