Grand County defers to local asphalt company despite 15 percent higher price tag
May 7, 2008
In a last minute decision to “keep it local,” Grand County commissioners cast a vote Tuesday for a local asphalt company over a Denver one.
Out of five bidders who proposed paving work for County Road 41, County Road 396 and Granby’s 4th Street, Grand County Road and Bridge Superintendent Ken Haynes had selected bidder New West Paving of Denver, because New West proposed the lowest bid, according to Haynes.
But the decision didn’t sit well with at least one local company, Acord Asphalt.
Owners Pat and Cathy Acord sat across from commissioners Tuesday to make their case.
The contract for New West Paving had already been prepared and signed by the company, awaiting commissioner approval and signatures. The county legal department advised commissioners that they may reject or accept any bid for any reason.
Acord’s bid was the third lowest. Cathy Acord said their bid was honest and included everything in the onset, including traffic control, rather than a lower bid with add-ons later.
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“It hurts me to go out of town for this, but I have to,” Haynes told commissioners. “I have to consider county taxes on this too.”
Haynes said if he had selected the highest bid out of the five, his annual paving budget would be exhausted in one fell swoop. The superintendent said at least three other road projects are in the department’s plans for this summer.
“We know you’re trying to spread your dollars as far as you can get them because we give you a budget and expect you to uphold it,” said Grand County Chairman Gary Bumgarner. “It doesn’t go unnoticed, and we thank you for that.”
At the same time, commissioners added, the county has had a policy, such as with its judicial building under construction, to give “preferential treatment to the locals.”
Acord said his family has lived and paid taxes in Grand County for the past 90 years.
“For being third and fourth generation, we have paid the difference,” he said, referring to the $15,000 bid difference between lowest bidder New West Paving and his company.
“We spend a little more to purchase tools and fuels here,” he said. “We spend a lot of money to keep it all in Grand County.”
He added that locals stick around when times get tight and businesses are in a pinch, when other more transient companies might leave to find business elsewhere.
The Acords brought up the fact that in the past, Grand County Road and Bridge has called on them to do last-minute work during “crunch time” in the fall, when other contractors have fallen through, such as work on a bridge last year.
Yet when they were actually given time to put together an involved bid for a project, which included meeting bond demands, they were rejected for being out-bidded by a Denver company.
Other local paving companies bid on the project as well.
“I had a lot of friends who submitted proposals for this project,” Haynes said, adding that in spite of that, he had to consider his budget.
“We appreciate you looking for the low bid,” Bumgarner said. “That is important to taxpayers too, but there is a trade-off.”
In the long run, locals may pay two-fold with their general commitment to community in volunteerism and financial support, said Commissioner Nancy Stuart.
Newberry moved to accept the bid for Acord Asphalt in the amount of $101,502, which was passed with a unanimous vote, and for future bids with similar circumstances, Haynes was instructed to present proposals to commissioners with recommendations for making final decisions.
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