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Humboldt council stands by decision

Aug. 6 vote awarded contract to local firm despite higher bid

August 21, 2012
By ROBERT WOLF ( , Messenger News

HUMBOLDT - The Humboldt City Council is standing by a decision made two weeks ago to award a contract to a local bidder who was not the low bid in a project.

In a 3-2 vote Aug. 6, the council awarded a contract for road and curb and gutter work in the first phase of the Eagle Ridge Addition to Blacktop Service Co. even though the bid was $30,000 higher than Wunsch Construction, Greene. The Blacktop Service bid was for asphalt, whereas the Wunsch bid was for concrete.

Councilmen Joel Goodell, John Sleiter, and Darrell Rusher had voted in favor of the local bidder whereas Joe Hadar and Steve Boomgarden voted against.

At Boomgarden's request, the council reconsidered the matter Monday. Boomgarden said his major concern was setting a precedent in giving contracts to local firms over lower bidders.

Councilman Joe Hadar agreed with Boomgarden. Hadar said the city heard from contractors almost immediately saying sticking with local contractors makes it more difficult for anyone looking for a fair bidding process.

"By law, I think, you just have to follow that process. If it is the lowest bid and if there is no reason not to accept the lowest bid, we accept the lowest bid," he said.

"My opinion from two weeks ago has not changed and I think we made the right decision the first time," said Councilman John Sleiter.

City Attorney Eric Eide said one of the three council members who voted in favor of the contract would have to ask for a revote. None did.

Mayor Walter Jensen said the council will have to determine how it is going to award bids in the future.

In other business, the council awarded a contract for the 2012 Humboldt Business Park project to Peterson Contractors Inc. of Reinbeck. That company had the lowest bid of $1.1 million out of five. The work is for storm sewer, sewer, water, and road work. It includes a retention pond. The engineer's estimate was $1.2 million.

The council approved final plans and specifications and set a Sept. 4 bid letting for a demolition project at 611/613 Sumner Ave.



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