McMinnville officials gave the initial nod to Tri-State Development to be the contractor for Riverfront Park improvements. The company’s bid was the highest, but considered the best.
Parks and Recreation Committee members Aldermen Mike Neal, chairman, and Billy Wood met Tuesday night to review the bids and agreed to recommend Tri-State to the full board with its bid of $92,750, rather than a bid of $89,107 submitted by Waymon Hale Construction.
Under consideration was a project involving a grant from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, given in 2009, to construct two docks, replace the boat ramp, apply gravel to the parking area and stabilize the river frontage. TWRA will pay up to $86,995 with a match by the city of 20 percent.
McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord recommended Tri-State, saying it gave the city more of what it was asking for in the bid documents making it the best bid.
“Tri-State met more of what we were asking for,” he said. “They told us what they were going to do, what they were going to use, when they were going to start, when they were going to finish, what each phase is going to cost. Those were not broken down by Waymon Hale.”
The city also requested each company provide a work schedule, a plan for delivery of services, with a specific deadline of work to be completed by Aug. 30, 2013. While Tri-State provided a detailed list of when each scope of work would begin and end to make sure work was completed by the deadline, Waymon Hale Construction did not, says McCord.
Alderman Ken Smith, who is not on the committee but was in attendance, warned about going with a higher bid on work being performed by a grant.
“If we go with a higher bid and you are dealing with a government grant, you are possibly going to have to answer some questions,” Smith said. “I don’t want to get us in any trouble.”
Neal agreed with McCord in that Tri-State gave the city more of what it requested in the bid documents making it the best bid.
“To me, it does ask for a work schedule,” said Neal. “Contractor is to provide a plan for delivery. It says tell us how this is going to come along. Also, Tri-State gave the specific cost for each part of the project and Mr. Hale did not, and that’s requested in the bid.”
Wood added, “If we go with the high bid, which I’m notoriously not in favor of, you have to be able to justify it. I have no problem with Waymon Hale.”
City attorney Tim Pirtle assured the committee that the observations made during the meeting about the bid differences were “objective and reasonable” and would allow the city to legally accept a higher bid.
Wood made a motion to go with Tri-State, which Neal seconded. The recommendation will be sent to the full board for its consideration.
Alderman Ben Newman, a member of the committee, was in attendance at the meeting. However, he abstained from the discussion and vote due to a possible conflict of interest.