City Defends Use of Out-of-Town Contractor for Road Work, Provides Information On Cost Savings

City Defends Use of Out-of-Town Contractor for Road Work, Provides Information On Cost Savings

Tallahassee Reports recently reported on a City Commission vote that resulted in a New Jersey based company, APS, being awarded a sole source contract to do paving work on two City roads.

As of February 23rd, one road has been paved and the other road, Maclay Blvd., has been delayed due to testing that revealed an unanticipated condition of the road base.

The City staff told the Commission that the technique required for the work on the two City roads was so specialized that only one company proposed a bid.

Tallahassee Reports has subsequently been contacted by Eric Houge of the City’s Public Works Department who wanted to clarify a couple of items in the original report.

The discussion with Mr. Houge revealed new cost-benefit information that was not included in the agenda presented to the City Commission when a vote was taken to move forward with the contract.

Also, Mr. Houge explained why the City did not use the local paving company the City has under contract to perform the paving part of the APS contract.

Tallahassee Reports reported that “local contractors could have milled and paved both roads for approximately $350,000” which was significantly less than the $518,000 contract awarded to APS.

Mr. Houge stated that the cold-in place technique used by APS was not comparable to the traditional two-inch milling and paving routinely used to maintain roads. Mr. Houge told Tallahassee Reports that to get the level of maintenance provided by the cold-in-place technique, using traditional methods, would have cost approximately $800,000 compared to the $518,000 charged by APS.

There fore, Mr. Houge said the City actually saved close to $280,000 in contracting with APS.

Mr. Houge also explained that the contract awarded to APS involved a two-step process. The first process included the cold-in-place technique that required specialized equipment.The second process was the routine paving of the road with asphalt.

When asked why the City contracted with APS to do the routine paving when the City could have used the local company that is currently under contract with the City to mill and pave roads, Mr. Houge stated that the “City was looking for turn-key solution and did not want to get into to being the general contractor of the project.”

He also noted that APS did hire a local contractor to do the paving, just not the contractor the City has under contract for road maintenance.

Research by Tallahassee Reports has verified that APS was not required to bid out the paving part of the contract and in fact, the City will pay approximately $30,000 more to APS than they would have paid to the local vendor currently under contract with the City to pave the road after the cold-in-place technique is completed.

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