Council rejects Glenwood wastewater project bids |

Council rejects Glenwood wastewater project bids

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Glenwood Springs City Council voted 6-1 not to award a contract on the Wastewater Treatment Facility project Thursday night.

Council came to the decision despite city staff’s recommendation to proceed with the award of the contract, to Arizona-based Archer Western Construction, at a low bid price of around $23.5 million, and submit a “change order” to include increases in labor wages due to the required inclusion of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirement.

According to Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel, staff arrived at that conclusion because the additional costs of including the increase in wage rates were expected to remain lower than if the city were to pursue other means of financing. Those adjustments could potentially increase the contract price by as much as $5 million, Hecksel said.

“It’s unfortunate that we’ve been put in that situation but that is the recommendation that we came up with,” said Hecksel.

The decision not to award a bid causes the city to scrap the current bids, and re-bid the project altogether. It was a decision that council did not come to lightly.

“I’ve got a pretty high level of disappointment with the change order,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen. “I don’t think I can responsibly enter into a contract on something this large, without knowing what the real cost would be.”

The city will now have to start the process from step one, and re-bid the project, including a pre-qualification of general contractors. Christensen expressed to city staff that he would like to get through the next bid process as quickly as possible, since much of the work is completed.

“I would hope that we could look at expediting the way in getting bids back out,” Christensen said.

Since the bid documents are already prepared, Christensen anticipated that the new bid documents could be sent out as soon as Friday, Dec. 18. However, council is considering changes to the city’s local preference code that could impact the bid prices as well. Most council members agreed it would be best to wait until the changes are completed before re-bidding the project, but that would delay the process even further.

Council requested that staff produce a time schedule for the bid process by the Jan. 21 meeting. Christensen said that he would like to be able to award a contract by March 4. It was unclear if that date was plausible.

Original bids were returned on Nov. 5, and were set to expire on Jan. 5. The work was scheduled to begin as soon as financing was secured with the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. Completion was anticipated by the end of May 2012.

The project was halted in November, shortly after the city received the bids, when the authority notified the city that the federal government was applying Davis-Bacon requirements to all prior year appropriations, not only future appropriations.

The city did not include the wage requirement in the previous bid documents because it was not required when the original contract was issued for bid on Oct. 23.

City Council had already approved a loan agreement with the authority to issue bonds to fund the project, but it was still awaiting the bond sale to secure financing.

Councilman Leo McKinney was the only council member to vote no on the motion to reject the bids.

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