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BE Council says no to Galbraith bid protest

By Staff | May 29, 2011

David Frundt

The Blue Earth City Council decided to stick with their original vote to accept a bid for work on the 10th and Galbraith Street project despite the fact that it was not the lowest bid.

The decision came at a special half hour long meeting last Monday at noon.

Representatives from Romsdahl Construction, the apparent low bidder, were at Monday’s meeting. They had filed a formal protest over the bid process.

The council, upon a recommendation from their staff, had voted at an earlier meeting to accept the bid of Holtmeier Construction for the project.

Romsdahl’s bid had been $145,000 lower than the bid from Holtmeier. However, the council was concerned about Romsdahl’s ability to get the project completed according to a certain schedule.

On Monday, City Attorney David Frundt presented a list of seven “findings of fact” to back up the decision to not go with the lower bid.

“The document lists ‘findings of fact’ concerning the earlier staff recommendation to award the bid to Holtmeier Construction,” Frundt says.

All seven reasons listed concern Romsdahl Construction’s bid not being “a responsible bid.”

The list names the timeline for completion, inexperience of the foreman, lack of necessary resources (number of employees and amount of equipment) to complete the project in a timely fashion as reasons for not awarding the bid.

“The council is allowed to award the bid to the firm they believe to have the lowest responsible bid,” Frundt says. “It is the recommendation of staff to the council that the Holtmeier Construction bid is the lowest responsible bid.”

Three representatives of Romsdahl Construction were present at the meeting and disputed the list of “findings of fact.”

“We are disappointed in this action,” owner Nick Romsdahl says. “We felt we had done due diligence in presenting a bid. We were excited about getting the job, and felt we were very capable of completion of the project.”

Romsdahl’s project manager, Ryan Guritz, disputed many of the claims in the seven “findings of fact” presented by Frundt.

“We understood the complexity of the project and our bid covered all of these issues,” Guritz says. “It is a very fair and very competitive bid.”

Mayor Rob Hammond asked twice if any of the council members wished to make a motion to rescind the earlier bid and take another look at the other bids. No motion was made.

However, the council did vote to accept the list of seven “findings of fact” as presented by staff.

The 10th and Galbraith Street project is expected to begin soon and involves seven blocks of Galbraith from Seventh to 14th streets, two blocks of 10th Street and one block of 11th.

All seven blocks of Galbraith will be reconstructed with concrete.

Holtmeier Construction’s bid was for $2,079,162 for the street work and underground utilities.