Storm Lake City Council Tables Awarding Memorial Road Project Bid Following Heated Public Hearing for Contesting Bid Rejections

The Storm Lake City Council on Monday tabled awarding a bid for the Memorial Road street and utilities improvements project connected to the construction of a Qwik Star store following a lengthy and heated public hearing for contesting bid rejections.

Four bids were received and opened by the city in early February. The low bid from Bainbridge Construction was 2.4 million dollars, and the next-lowest bid was from Hulstein Excavating at 2.8 million. Storm Lake City Manager Keri Navratil is recommending that those two bids be rejected due to several alleged issues with those two contractors on previous projects that they’ve done in the city. Navratil cites Iowa Code that says that a contract for public improvement must be awarded to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder. The third lowest bid from Reding’s Gravel and Excavating of Storm Lake is about 700 thousand dollars higher than the lowest bid.

Bainbridge Construction owner Troy Bainbridge blamed local engineering for issues with one project they did in Storm Lake. He said they started it a month late, but still finished it on time. Bainbridge said although the Memorial Road project is important especially due to the lake’s proximity, it’s not as complicated as City Infrastructure Engineer Josh Pope described earlier in the public hearing. Bainbridge said he had no knowledge of several of the issues listed by the city manager, and said his company is experienced and qualified to do the Memorial Road project…

Hulstein Excavating co-owner Travis Hulstein said there were some truths to the issues listed by the city manager, some stretches of the truth, and some of what he called flat-out lies…

When asked to point out lies that were mentioned, Hulstein didn’t mention any specifically, saying there were “too many.”

All of the council members, including Meg MeKeon, said they didn’t feel comfortable awarding a bid for the Memorial Road project at this time…

Council member Maria Ramos said she heard from community members about issues with past projects handled by the contractors, but wants to continue to hear their side of the story.

The matter will be revisited at the next council meeting.


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