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Back on course

City pleased with second round of bidding for Hillside improvements


After receiving only one bid during the first attempt to contract out work on the city's golf course irrigation project earlier this summer, the city's second effort went much more smoothly.

"There was far more competition in bidding," City Manager Gary Person said.

Sidney contracted with Staples Golf Design to design, plan and coordinate the irrigation project for improvements to the municipal golf course. Project One, a project management firm, is coordinating with Staples on the plan.

Although the project initially only received interest from one construction firm, nine contractors bid on the project during the city's second try, Sept. 4.

Those working on the project called the two bidders who presented the most desirable numbers, Mid-America Golf and Landscape and Duininck, Inc to clarify the bids. Both firms bid low on different portions of the work. Neither of the bids were the lowest overall.

"The City is ultimately seeking a Construction Firm(s) that takes the time to understand the issues and critical factors for successful delivery of the project, provides qualified professional construction and a staff that offers creative solutions to project challenges, is committed to working through a collaborative team approach and demonstrates an overall level of specialized knowledge to complete the project to the City’s highest level of expectations," according to the bid result report.

The report, put together by Staples, recommends that the city consider using Mid-America for the reservoir and building. It advises the city hire Duininck for the irrigation and alternate pump station. This would put the total cost for the construction portion of the project at around $1.1 million. This is about $300,000 over the construction budget. Duininck would be using a subcontractor, Stahlman England for the irrigation work.

"The recommendation to the council is between two different companies to get the biggest bang for our buck," Person said.

Although neither of these companies' overall bids were the lowest, by contracting them to complete different portions of work on the project, the resulting price would be lower than the lowest all-inclusive bid.

Some of the reasons for a higher than expected cost are a competitive work environment, an increase in the cost of materials and the lack of housing available in Sidney.

"It's slightly over what we originally hoped," Person said.

The city council originally determined that there was so little interest during the first round of bids because of a tight timeframe and due to many restrictions placed on the project meant to protect the city from liability.

The design group developed a list of recommendations for how to change the project and re-bid it, after the initial unsatisfactory bid process.

The new recommendations included a later start and end date, relaxation of liquid damages and the possibility of dividing the project between separate contracts.

"I think the strategy worked," Person said. "I think we're in the ballpark."

These recommendations will be presented to the city council at Tuesday night's meeting.


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