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July 16, 2008 3:00 pm

Burbach: Reject all bids

Written by Tribune Staff

City council will make final decision on pool bids

Burbach Aquatics, Inc., the firm hired to design Powell's new aquatic center, recommended the city reject all pool construction bids received at the July 10 bid opening. The recommendation was made in a letter to City Administrator Zane Logan, dated July 11.
David Burbach said, in the letter, “The results...were a disappointment as the base bid amount is approximately 15 percent higher than the budget, as established for this project.”
The company had, in another letter dated January 7, 2008, estimated a base bid of $6,867,000.
Sletten Construction of Wyoming, the low bidder, submitted a combination bid for all three project contracts of $7,970,040. The Sletten bid included a base figure of $1,125,000 for the pool construction phase; $885,040 for the pool mechanical construction; and $5,960,000 for the general construction contract.
Three additional companies each bid on a single phase of the project. Ricchio Inc., of Illinois, bid $1,749,000 as the base cost for pool construction. Mechanical Inc., also from Illinois, bid on the mechanical phase, with a base of $851,000. L.M. Olson Inc., of Rawlins, submitted a base bid of $6,040,000 for general construction.
Each bid contract also contained alternates which could raise or lower costs, based on certain additions or modifications.
Wyoming companies received a 5 percent preference in the bid tabulation.
In reaction to Burbach's recommendation Shawn Warner, president of Sletten Construction of Wyoming said, “We certainly respect their opinion — they've got a job to do. But we firmly believe it is not in the city's best interest to reject bids.”
According to Logan, representatives from Burbach are looking into why the bids were higher than estimated. They don't believe the high bids are completely attributable to energy costs — they believe that by adjusting materials and finding different sources for building products, bids may come in lower a second time around. They've spent time over the past few days contacting contractors and subs in the area to see why there weren't more bids.
“Right now they're (Burbach) just trying to get to the bottom of the whole thing. No matter what, we don't have enough money (at this price). We need to look at these things and see what caused the increase,” Logan said.
Councilman Jim Hillberry said, “At this point, I don't (have a comment.) I will have a comment or thought after the work session.”
According to Councilman John Wetzel, the contractors he's spoken to, both locally and nationally, don't think there's a great chance the bids will be lower a second time around. In fact, he said, “They say they may be worse.”
“I still am in favor of working with the local contractor, the low bidder, to see what can be done. It makes sense to be moving forward,” Wetzel added. “At this point, the city just needs to step up and figure out how to get this pool built.”
Other city councilmen could not be reached for comment.
Additional suggestions in Burbach's letter included elimination of “the three prime contract framework due to lack of interest and (conversion of) the project to a single prime contract,” and the initiation of the “re-bidding process by issuing a new addendum which would include the new Notice to Contractors, new bid forms, changes to the contract such as a single prime, modifications to the scope work and changes in the specified materials.”
The Powell City Council will hold a work session at 10:30 a.m. today (Thursday) to review bids and discuss Burbach's recommendation.
“At this point my hope is that Dave (Burbach) or (project manager) Nancy (Ronto) could be at the work session. The city hired them for the project. We need to listen. At this point my responsibility is to give (the mayor and city council) the tools and let them decide where to go with it,” Logan added.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, a decision regarding bids could be made at the regular city council meeting on Monday, July 21, at 7 p.m.