Late bid loses township water system contract
By Kevin Elliott
The lowest price doesn’t guarantee a contract in Bloomfield Township, where the board of trustees on Monday, October 25, chose the second lowest bid for work to be done on the township’s water system.
The work, which includes rehabilitating three pressure reducing valve locations on the township’s drinking water system, will cost about $269,915, under the contract approved Monday with Bidagare Contractors.
Trustees unanimously approved the contract after learning the lowest bidder for the contract resubmitted its proposed contract a day late and several thousand dollars more.
Township planner Olivia Olsztyn-Budry said CSM Mechanical submitted a bid in the amount of $224,775 by the township’s Oct. 4 deadline, but resubmitted a higher amount after the bids were made public. The second bid was about $9,000 lower than the second lowest bid, submitted by Bidagare.
Olsztyn-Budry said the township’s engineering department recommended awarding the bid to Bidagare in order to avoid setting a precedent, as the township hasn’t awarded bids submitted after they are made public.
“After reviewing the bid from CSM Mechanical, they did state that if the township didn’t award the contract with the additional amount, they would have to walk away,” Olsztyn-Budry said. “Knowing that as well, the recommendation from the engineering department is to award it to the second lowest bidder, Bidigare Contractors in the amount of $269,915.
“Again, the bid process is very formulaic and we provide every contractor who submits a bid the same documentation. It lists the quantities, it lists the project and is very clearly stated that the bids are all due at a certain date and time. Keeping with that process, the engineering department does recommend going with the second low bidder.”
Bloomfield Township Supervisor Dani Walsh said it wouldn’t be fair to award a lower contract after bids are made public, whether the price change was made on that knowledge or not.
“Olivia did ask for advice, and someone who has had to bid out contracts, we had to take a hit because you’re not allowed to see what everyone else bid, and say “hey, I’m $2,000 less than him,” Walsh said. “We had to take that hit. We never considered going back and asking to raise our bid. I personally didn’t like the precedent it would set.”
Board members voted unanimously to award the contract to Bidagare.