Downtown streetscape project bid comes in substantially higher than budget

City Council, staff to review options and re-visit project on June 24

The City of Center's planned downtown streetscape project hit a big bump on the road to becoming a reality when the city only received one bid on the project and that bid came in at $5.1 million, or $1.3 million more than the engineer's $3.8 million estimate for the project.

An item on the Monday, June 10, City Council agenda to award a bid on the streetscape project was postponed until a June 24 meeting. City Manager Chad Nehring said the bid, with modifications, came in at $4.463 million, which city staff was not recommending for approval.

The lone bid was opened on June 4.

“We only had one qualified bidder submit a bid,” Nehring said. “The original bid was extremely excessive and above the construction estimate of $3.8 million at $5.1 million.”

Nehring told the council the actual bid was reduced to about $4.6 million with modifications.

“They had a multiplication quantity error that immediately reduced about $200,000 of that cost and they also had a supplier vendor error that they had transposed into their bid, so immediately we were able to reduce another $288,000 that was a calculation error from a vendor.”

Nehring said about $150,000 of the project was utility related and would come from the city's utility fund.

Those adjustments would put the only bid at $4.463 million. City officials worked with the design team last week to identify factors which led to the pricing in the bid well above the engineering estimate, Nehring said.

“I think they've identified several, which can be accommodated with alternative materials without really changing the look, without changing anything of substance, using a different type of paver as opposed to the original sidewalk paver out into the streets and crosswalks,” Nehring said. “One of the biggest alterations to the spec were the actual light posts —in total they without making any significant changes or even major noticeable impact to the project itself, they anticipate roughly being able to reduce that by almost $600,000 if the contractor is agreeable to the contractual term of value engineering the fee prior to award.”

“So we are in the process right now of submitting those items for alternation, instead of brick pavers in some sections, and using color stamped concrete,” he said. Nehring said other areas of potential change included ground cover.

“There were 133 different bid items and I think we've identified roughly 37 that might warrant some adjustment or alternation,” he said.

“What we're recommending at this point is that the council postpone action on this item until the 24th, bids are good for 60 days,” Nehring said. “Our recommendation is let's see what it looks like in two weeks.”

He said it is possible city staff may ultimately recommend re-bidding the project. The extra two weeks to allow the specifications and bid to be more thoroughly reviewed will allow officials more time to review details.

Mayor David Chadwick said the news was not what officials wanted.

“I think we've all spent enough time with the plans and we don't want to deviate drastically from them,” Chadwick said. He said postponing a decision another two weeks until things are ironed out is a wise decision.

Earlier in the meeting the council approved issuing certificates of obligation to fund the project, purchase new fire fighting equipment and water and sewer projects. The total of those certificates of obligation was $6.5 million.