WALLA WALLA -- A landfill contract award was tabled Wednesday night after a majority of Council members questioned why the city attorney recommened the Council reject the lowest bid.
At issue is the proposed closure work on Sudbury Landfill Area Six. Of the nine firms that submitted bids this month, the two lowest were Boss Construction Inc. at $1,505,519 and Selland Construction Inc. at $1,617,234.
City Attorney Tim Donaldson recommended the lowest bid be rejected even though it was almost $112,000 less than the next-lowest bid, because it failed to include a required $25,000 allowance for minor changes that could be added by project managers.
"Everyone else included the $25,000 in their bid. These folks didn't ... Now that they found out that they are the low bid, well now they can come in and say that we can do that, we can come in and provide the $25,000," Donaldson said, noting that allowing the company to change their bid at this point would be unfair and might lead to a lawsuit.
"The question is, does it give this bidder some sort of advantage over the other bidders ... We can open ourself up to a bid protest lawsuit to the next lowest bidder who did submit the right form," Donaldson said.
In a letter of protest submitted by representatives of Boss Construction, attorneys argued that correcting or adding to their bid by $25,000 would not show "prejudice or displace another bidder" because their bid was more than $100,000 less than the second-lowest bidder.
"We are a low bidder. We are $100,000 lower and we are more than qualified to do this job, and we will do a good job for Walla Walla," an attorney for Boss Construction Inc. told the Council on Wednesday night.
Council members Jim Barrow, Dominick Elia, Shane Laib and Fred Mitchell voted in favor of tabling the bid award for a future work session. Jerry Cummins, Conrado Cavazos and Mayor Barbara Clark voted against the motion.
The item will now go to a work session for further consideration.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8325.