Snubbed Denver paving company complains about Grand County’s decision
May 14, 2008
“We felt it was a little bit unfair,” stated Jeff Gross, senior estimator of New West Paving at the Grand County commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday.
Last week, New West Paving was rejected during a recent bid process for its out-of-county address in spite of submitting the lowest bid.
Company representatives approached county commissioners to “clear the air,” they said.
President Dan Mikkelson and Senior Estimator Gross said they felt slighted in a newspaper report about last week’s last-minute decision to choose local company Acord Asphalt of Granby over their company for a bid about $15,000 higher.
During last week’s meeting, Acord Asphalt referenced fly-by-night companies that do not have staying power in Grand County. New West’s Mikkelson and Gross regretted the insinuation of being lumped into that category.
In their rebuttal, New West operators said they have done a significant amount of work in the area, such as at both ski areas, for the towns of Winter Park, Fraser and Granby, for the Fraser Safeway, Grand Elk, Granby Ranch, Rendezvous and Lakota.
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“We’ve spent four months out of every season of the last seven years in Grand County,” Mikkelson said after Tuesday’s meeting.
“I guess we need a definition of what is local and what is not local,” they told commissioners. “We’re not going anywhere; we plan to bid more work up here.”
They added that their bid was fair and comprehensive. It covered all scopes of work, they noted, and added that when working in Grand County, they buy their asphalt locally, accounting for roughly 50 to 60 percent of the total cost of a job put back into the local economy.
New West Paving’s 2008 bid for County Road 4, CR 396 and Granby 4th Street was for $86,412. Acord Paving’s bid was third lowest at $101,502.
After the meeting, Mikkelson further stated that his company hires local subcontractors as well as puts workers up in local condominiums during jobs.
New West recommended the county hold pre-bid meetings to clarify stipulations in request-for-proposals to “fine-tune the process” as well as implement a clear and firm policy with a difference cap for granting job preference to local companies.
That policy should be stated in the bid package, he said, something that is standard in the industry.
“We had an honest bid we felt was competitive,” Mikkelson said. “I spent a lot of time on that job.”
County Attorney Jack Dicola clarified that the commissioners’ decision was covered under the umbrella of state statute regarding counties’ ability to grant preference to local residences, and that technically, New West’s Denver home base is on North Broadway.
Commissioners aired that in no way did they or county staff disparage New West’s work during last week’s meeting.
“The building of the judicial building brought it to light for us,” said Commissioner James Newberry about the county’s thrust to hire from a local pool.
Bumgarner stated the decision was driven in part by concern about the declining economy and the importance of “keeping locals here for the future.”