Because of a lack a "good faith effort" on the part of the low bidder for the airport taxiway replacement, Clapsaddle-Garber Associates recommended the Marshalltown City Council accept the second lowest bid for the project at Monday night's Committee of the Whole meeting.
Bill Grabe, CEO of the firm, which is providing the city with administrative assistance on the project, said seven bids came in since bidding opened May 30.
However, he said, the lowest bidder, Brycon LLC, did not make a "good faith" effort to accommodate the specification in Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.
T-R PHOTO BY DAVID ALEXANDER
Bill Grabe, CEO Clapsaddle-Garber Associates, explains to the council why he is recommending the rejection of Brycon LLC’s bid for the replacement of taxiways at the airport at Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting. Brycon bid $0 for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise portion of the project, which Grabe said did not demonstrate a “good faith effort.”
"It is a federal requirement that we set a goal for DBE participation in the project," he said. "The successful bidder either needs to meet that goal or demonstrate that they made a good faith effort in trying to meet the goal."
The program aims to help women and minorities compete in the business market by subcontracting portions of projects to them. Brycon bid $0 for the DBE portion of the project, which is traffic control at the airport.
Instead, Grabe recommended the council accept the bid of the next lowest bidder, Construct, for the repaving of the taxiways in front of the hangars at the airport.
Brycon bid just over $396,000. Construct's bid is just over $421,000.
Kenneth Bryngelson, whose son is in the process of buying Brycon from him, called the DBE requirements a sham.
He said many disadvantaged businesses are aware of federal requirements and deliberately inflate their bids to meet it. However, that is not why Brycon bid $0 for the DBE portion.
"It isn't that we had any problem using a DBE contractor," he said. "I want to give the city the most competitive bid I can do."
Bryngelson said his son was likely unaware he was supposed to include those estimates in the bid, and that the company contacted several DBE contractors about the project.
Grabe said the regulations do not mandate using the lowest bidder and that it is likely the project would lose Federal Aviation Administration funding if the council accepted Brycon's bid.
"I know they got to go by the criteria the federal government goes by," Bryngelson said. "Sometimes it is hard for me to understand."