Everyone who owns a home has gone through it. Some sort of repair is needed.
The process is pretty typical. Most likely, you go get estimates for the work and then determine the best price and value to get the job done.
Havelock, in a way, is faced with that same situation. The animal shelter needs work. Specifically, it needs to be expanded to allow for the increasing numbers of animals that animal control takes in.
So, the city did what any homeowner would do. It figured out how much it wanted to spend on the project and then went out to get estimates.
(Granted, that’s a simplistic view because of the legal issues of the bidding process the city is required to do, but essentially, it’s the same.)
The city had planned $42,600 for the project, but when it received the estimates (bids) for the work, those were significantly more than the amount of money the city had available.
The lowest bid came in at $66,460, while the highest came in at about $103,000.
Talk about sticker shock. The lowest bid was $23,860 more than what the city had planned for the project. That left the city in a bit of a quandary.
Bill Ebron, director of public services, and Police Chief G. Wayne Cyrus, whose department oversees operation of the animal shelter, both have said that the expansion is needed.
With that in mind, commissioners Jim Stuart and Danny Walsh sought to accept the low bid, even though the cost was significantly higher than planned. Walsh pointed out that the bid process was sound, and that the companies made sound estimates. With no one else willing to do the work any cheaper, Walsh and Stuart suggested that the city accept the low bid and move on.
While that was one approach, Commissioner George Liner had another. He suggested that the city needed to be more specific about the project to the bidders. He suggested that with more specific plans, bids for the project may come in cheaper.
He had the backing of fellow commissioners Will Lewis and Karen Lewis. (By the way, the two are not related.)
Ultimately, commissioners voted to reject the bids by that 3-2 margin and rebid the project.
We think that makes good sense. After all, a homeowner would likely have the same type of debate should a home repair far exceed the amount of money available to do the work. They may even adjust the project in an effort to get a cheaper price.
In this sense, the city operated much like any homeowner would do with his or her own money. Since the city is dealing with our money too, we applaud their efforts to make certain they are spending it wisely.
In the end, the bids may not come back any cheaper than the ones they have already received. But at least the city made the effort to save some taxpayer money.