The Oneida County Buildings and Grounds Committee met Monday morning to discuss bids for a new boiler and kitchen exhaust system project at the Law Enforcement Center.
The original bid was let in 2016, for one boiler. Only one bid was received and that came in higher than the budget would allow, according to facilities director LuAnn Brunette.
As a result, the committee decided to wait until 2017 to pursue the project.
"We decided to wait with it until after the first of the year because the state changed their determination on who had to pay prevailing wage rates and municipalities are not exempt from that," Brunette said. "We've bid it out two times in 2017 and each time we only came back with one bid. We changed the bid from one large boiler to the option of them providing two smaller boilers."
The reason for the switch to two smaller boilers was because it might be easier for a vendor and the cost might be cheaper.
That didn't help as only one bid came back because it wouldn't be a quick job and companies are simply too busy to take the job, which may not net them a worthwhile profit.
"They're too busy and they have enough other work that they don't want to put the work in to doing the work required to do the project," Brunette said.
Companies are so busy that those who did make bids have told the county the project would have to wait until the fall or winter.
Even the county's consultant firm Grumman/Butkus stated that companies were simply too busy at this time.
The committee is now looking into possibly splitting up the boiler and kitchen exhaust projects so a local vendor might want to bid.
Other options on the table include waiting until the 2018 budget is set to be drawn up and ask for more money then, along with looking into the capital funding project or going to the county board to ask for more money for the project.
Committee chairman Billy Fried asked corporation counsel Brian Desmond if they could re-bid the project in smaller pieces and then ask for money when the bids come in.
"I think you're gonna run into the problem of how long those numbers are good for," Desmond responded. "As LuAnn said earlier, there's always inflation, price changes later, things of that nature, and if someone bids now that price might not be good in four or six months may not be good once you go through all that process to get the money. That'd be my concern. You wait until the end and get 'X' amount of dollars and the person says, 'Well, my bid was from six months ago, prices have all gone up.' You can see if someone is open for a bid of six to nine months, but I'm gonna doubt that they're gonna do that."
In the end, the committee directed Brunette to do some more digging to see what may be the best route to go in this matter.
"I'd like to do some more research on possibly breaking it out to the boiler as one option and the kitchen exhaust as another bid," Brunette said. "So doing two separate bids and looking at the options and then bring this back to our next meeting. Then, at that point, make a decision if we're going to go with the CIP process or if we're going to go to county board."
Nick Sabato may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SabatoNick.
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