The Oakwood City Council voted Monday night to start over and rebid work on the Upper Mulberry Creek Wastewater System.
In late April, the work for the project was awarded to low bidder Gary’s Grading and Pipeline Co., but the council had some concerns because of confusion with the company’s bid package.
One of the company’s line items was listed for just 1 cent in the bid to construct a force main.
The city council worried that it could be an unbalanced bid, which is an unreasonable cost that could be a detriment to the city.
"That’s really a determination the city would need to make if that’s an unbalanced bid or not," said City Manager Stan Brown.
The council also had questions about an inconsistent bid bond.
The city asked for all bidders to include a 10 percent bid bond. Gary’s Grading and Pipeline Co. wrote in a dollar figure that equated to 5 percent.
"Of the top bids we received, none of them completed that requirement," Brown said. "Technically all three were wrong."
Brown told council members they had the right to waive the bid bond issue as something all bidders failed to meet or scrap the current bid and start over.
He recommended the work remain with Gary’s Grading and Pipeline Co. because he was confident the bid was not any detriment to the city.
"He has already laid two water lines and a force main in the right of way we’re talking about. He probably knows those underground conditions better than anybody else," Brown said. "When you look at the dollar amount that’s involved, even if he had gone with the top number of the other contractors (for that line item), he still would have been the lowest bid."
Chris Opolka, an owner of Gary’s Grading, said he listed the price at 1 cent because he was confident that no gravel would be needed for the work.
"We’ve done a lot of digging along that route," Opolka said. "We weren’t looking to unbalance our bid, but in almost 30 miles of pipe, we didn’t use any extra bedding ... If we hit a wet spot, y’all are going to get some gravel for a penny."
He attributed the incorrect bid bond figure to "human error" and said the requirement had been met.
Despite confidence from city staff and Gary’s Grading, council members had questions.
Councilman Gary Anderson said the 1 cent bid appeared to be unbalanced by definition.
"A one cent item is not a reasonable, actual cost," Anderson said. "You can’t buy a piece of bubble gum for one cent anymore."
Councilman Sam Evans asked the city attorney, "Let’s say we don’t reject it and we do award it. How much do we subject ourselves to being sued by any other party?"
The council went into an executive session to discuss potential legal issues.
After the session, the council voted unanimously to discard the current bid and rebid the project.
"They felt that was the most fair and I think they made a good decision," Brown said.