Kahoka Waterline Project Bid Acceptance Questioned

Kahoka Waterline Project Bid Acceptance Questioned

By Mike Scott
Kahoka’s waterline replacement project attracted two bidders this year, and one of them is questioning whether the city unfairly allowed the other to modify his bid. ?The situation came up at the Monday, March 8 meeting of the Kahoka Board of Aldermen.
The City of Kahoka was seeking taking bids for a backhoe, backhoe operator and laborer to work with city crews in digging and laying new waterlines.  The two bidders were Armstrong Plumbing for $69.50 per hour, and Bash Concrete for $64.95 per hour.  Both companies have worked on the project in the past, and total hours billed are approximately 500 per year.
Gene Armstrong contends that the city unfairly gave Bash the opportunity to modify his bid by asking for clarification.  Armstrong’s bid specifically listed equipment to bore under streets and sidewalks.  Bash’s bid did not specifically list that equipment, however, it did say he would use the same equipment he used last summer, when he had the contract.
Mayor Wayne Blum called Bash for clarification, and was told that the boring equipment was included in his bid.  No other changes were made.
“My company has three families that all live right here in Kahoka,” Gene Armstrong told the aldermen.  “Do you aldermen think people should buy from businesses in Kahoka?”  Armstrong noted that Bash does not live in the city, and that the city has accepted higher bids if they are within 10 percent, if the bidder is a resident.
Armstrong further contended that his company got waterline laid in less time than Bash.
Mayor Blum pointed out that last year was unusually wet.
“We can’t compare apples to apples because nothing is ever the same,” said Alderman Curtis Mack.
“The fact question the council has to resolve is: Does the Bash bid meet the specifications?” advised City Attorney Rick Roberts.
“We asked for them to do the digging and boring as a package,” stated Alderman Jeff Wood.  “We did not ask them for a breakdown.  In my opinion, the both gave us a price to do the job.”
After discussion, the board voted 4-0 to accept the low bid from Bash Concrete.
The council also heard Collector Jena Church’s report.  As of Monday, there was about $19,000 of delinquent taxes owed for last year.  Approximately $7500 were personal property, with the rest being real estate.
The council voted to begin collection efforts for the delinquent amounts.
In other business, the board:
–Discussed allowing sewer and water hookup for a new building at Dean’s Building Products.  The board agreed they would have to annex the property  into Kahoka to receive service.
–Approved having Trump Truck build a new bed for the old fire truck used by the street department at a cost of $2500,
–Followed the Cemetery Board recommendation and awarded the cemetery mowing bid to Michael Kauth for $22,000.  Other bidders were K&J Mowing from Bonaparte, IA for $18,800, and Hunziker Lawn for $19,300.
–Rejected a bid of $1500  from Flowers and More  for the lot on the north side of the square.
–Approved two building permits.
–Agreed to send a letter to Aramark protesting a rate increase for uniforms, rugs and misc.
–Agreed to install three fire hydrants on the east side of North Johnson Street.
–Police Chief Bill Conger reported 88 calls for service in February.

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