ALLIANCE — Despite their bid being $40,000 lower than their competitor’s bid, Eric Reichert Insulation and Construction Inc., of Scottsbluff, saw their bid rejected by the Alliance School Board on Thursday for failing to provide all of the required information.
“I’ve never looked forward to a decision less in my life than I have this one tonight,” Board member Shana Brown said. “It is the muddiest water I’ve ever been in. I still have no idea, honestly. I think maybe that would be helpful: an explanation about why a significantly deficient bid was submitted in the first place. In my experience, I’ve never seen that happen before.”
Initially, two bids were submitted to complete the track project: one from Reichert for $808,997.50 and another from Alliance-based Peltz Companies Inc. Both bids were to install a post-tension track.
Board Member Terry Curtiss explained that the reason the Board called a special meeting Thursday was because of the inconsistencies in the submitted bids. He asked whether it is an important factor to consider.
“The fundamental issue that we have tonight is, do we have bids from responsible bidders,” Curtiss said. “On Monday night there were some issues raised that went to whether or not we could waive irregularities in (Reichert’s) bid. Our opinion from our counsel says we have that capacity, but that doesn’t end the inquiry as far as I’m concerned. Does the irregularities that apparently went with (Reichert’s) bid affect the analysis of are they a responsible bidder or not? It frankly concerns me that some of the most material parts of the bid weren’t submitted.”
During the meeting, Eric Reichert, of Reichert Insulation and Construction, said his company has handled track projects more in-depth then the one facing Alliance. He assured the board that the company has the experience necessary to complete the project.
Terry Peltz also emphasized that Peltz Companies could handle the project and do a thorough job.
“We submitted the qualifications of us and our subs (contractors) to meet everything you asked for,” Peltz said. “I don’t think we missed anything. It’s obvious that Reichert didn’t send anything other than their bid number. To me, I don’t see why the waters are muddied at all. Why you can’t go by what you put out for a contractor to bid makes no sense. I see $40,000 difference, but fair is fair. Why set any rules if you don’t have to follow them?”
Board President Tim Kollars emphasized he was uncomfortable making a decision on this project, citing other projects and concerns in the school district.
“We seem to know way less about this in making a decision in the $800,000 plus deal. I am not happy with the information we’ve gotten on this. I’m making an $800,000 decision I really didn’t really want to make. I’m telling people right up front, the track is not my prime concern in this school district. We’ve got boilers bad; we’ve got a lot of other things bad. That being said, I know we should get a track back. I understand that, it’s just not one of my priorities.”
After nearly an hour of discussion, the board voted on approving Reichert to complete the track project. Board Member Vaughn Toof voted yes with the other board members voting against the motion.
Brown made a motion to accept the bid from Peltz Companies, which was seconded by Board Member Karen Trussell. With the exception of Toof, the board voted in favor of approving Brown’s motion.
Construction is set to begin in May, following track season.