Contract Awarded for Project in Connection with Kwik Star Store in Storm Lake

The Storm Lake City Council on Monday unanimously approved awarding a contract for the Memorial Road street and utilities improvement project that ties in with the construction of a Kwik Star store.

The contract was awarded to Reding’s Gravel and Excavating of Storm Lake for approximately 3.1-million dollars. Reding’s was the 3rd lowest bidder for the project, about seven-thousand dollars more than the lowest bid.

Bainbridge Construction and Hulstein Excavating submitted the two lowest bids, but City Manager Keri Navratil recommended that those bids be rejected due to several issues on other projects they’ve done in the city. Reasons listed included not following proper National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit protocols, not performing the required Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, for not being responsive and lacking communication with property owners, engineering, and city staff, and not completing projects within contractual obligations.

Navratil has referenced Iowa Code that stipulates that a public improvement contract must be awarded to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder. A public hearing was held at the previous council meeting where the owners of Bainbridge and Hulstein stated their cases against the recommendation. Since then, the council received correspondence from the legal representation of both companies. The Bainbridge owner did not speak at this week’s meeting, while the Hulstein owner did provide further retaliation.

The city manager’s agenda item description stated that the Memorial Road project is complicated, and it would negatively impact two-thirds of the community if performed inadequately. It says having a bulk of the work being done near the lake adds another layer of complexity, and says the decision to reject the bids did not come lightly.

Mayor Mike Porsch noted that several years ago, the council gave city staff direction to document everything that goes on during a project due to some jobs that weren’t performed at a satisfactory level.