By Grace Moore
The Pine Haven governing body conducted a special meeting Thursday evening to review and approve one of the bids for the long-awaited emergency pump project. Since the failure of the original pump in January of 2017, the town has been renting a pump as they waited for DEQ to approve an emergency replacement.
The council previously applied and received a grant of $130,000 to help pay for the project and moved to take the balance of $68,000 from the specific use and purpose tax set aside for infrastructure concurrently with the acceptance of this bid.
Of the three bids submitted, opened and reviewed, the legitimacy of the lowest was discussed at length, having been presented with more than one hand-written correction of cost and not on the correct specification sheet that was sent with the request to bid by the town. Heath Turbiville of HDR Engineering noted that of the two issues, the wrong bid sheet is “the problem” as opposed to the arithmetic, which “will be resolved in favor of corrected sum”.
Mayor Larry Suchor advocated strongly waiting until the regular meeting of the council to seek the advice of Town Attorney Pat Carpenter as to whether the town can award the contract to this low bid legally. The suggestion, though, was overruled by his fellows, who determined to follow the bidding specifications outlined by HDR.
According to Councilwoman Karla Brandenburg, “If that’s what your bid package is and it says you have to do that and everybody else followed it and he didn’t…As a town, if we’re going to have this in our specs, we need to live by it or we’re putting ourselves out there.”
Councilman John Henle furthered that opinion by moving to accept the second to lowest bid submitted by Weaver Construction, who did return correct numbers on the correct bid sheet. The motion was accepted by majority.