Putnam County Holds off on Bids for Storage Garage

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Putnam County Board members Monday decided to suspend accepting recent bids received for a storage garage next to the emergency service building in Hennepin after it was discovered that the responsible bidder clause was left out of the bid document.

Bids were received last Tuesday, said William Shafer, engineer for the project, for a 60- by 80-foot storage building to be built 10 feet away from the current Putnam County Emergency Management Agency building which used to be the former steelworkers union hall. The county purchased the building and land with an $85,000 grant and has been renovating the building.

The project was bid out in several contracts, including general construction, electric and plumbing. However, Shafer said when the bids were submitted he noticed that the responsible bidder clause had not been attached to the bid documents. The board needed to decide whether to accept the current bids or send them back out for a rebid with the responsible bidder clause added.

“My experience with rebids is the price does not go down,” Shafer said.

He said fewer people could bid, which could cause other bidders to raise its prices and the project could go over budget. He suggested the board accept the current lowest bid from Judd Construction in Putnam County that met all of the responsible bid requirements accept one, an apprenticeship program. Shafer said it was not a requirement of the grant funds that Judd have such a program, and he asked that the condition be waved.

He said the project had four bids for general construction and only the third bidder met all the requirements of the responsible-bidder clause. That bid was $30,000 more than the lowest bid. Shafer said Judd Construction also came from Putnam County and the project so far has been done 100 percent by Putnam County companies.

“I’m having trouble that the clause was omitted from a bid package,” said Duane Calbow, chairman of the board.

Shafer told the board that the last bid project accepted by the board also did not have the responsible bidder clause in the documents.

“Two wrongs don’t fix it,” Calbow said. “Our mission is to do what’s right and to do it in the interest of the county.”

The board also was concerned about delaying the acceptance of the bids and the length of a rebid process because the grant completion deadline is Dec. 1. The board decided to suspend the meeting and think over the decision, then reconvene at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Hennepin.

Source: News Tribune