Base area contract under fire | SteamboatToday.com

Base area contract under fire

Contractors call bid process ‘an absolute failure and manipulation’

Mike Lawrence

— City Manager Jon Roberts is recommending a complete rebid of construction work at the base of Steamboat Ski Area after two local contractors called the process surrounding the $4.5 million contract "an absolute failure."

The fallout from a controversial bid process could mean added costs of as much as $30,000 and a delay of as long as two months for the start of work this spring on a public promenade and the daylighting of Burgess Creek at the immediate base of the ski area. The work is part of the city's multi-year, multimillion-dollar base area redevelopment efforts.

The Steamboat Springs City Council, acting as the Steam­boat Springs Redevel­opment Authority, will address the base area contract shortly after 5 p.m. today at Centennial Hall on 10th Street.

The City Council awarded a $4.5 million contract for the work to Duckels Construction on April 6. City Council President Cari Hermacinski cast the lone vote against the award, citing "very substantial" differences in Duckels' initial and final proposals that she said created at least a perception of impropriety. Fred Duckels and Derick Duckels have denied any improper actions during the bid process. Native Excavating and Connell Resources were the other two finalists.

In an April 13 letter protesting the contract, Native's Ed MacArthur and Connell's Eric Marsh called the city's review of bids "an absolute failure and manipulation of the pricing process." The letter raised several other issues with the proposal process.

"Nobody's happy about this," Roberts said about a potential rebid. "It not only cost the city money but also (cost) the bidders in the first round. It's also delayed the project."

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The fallout also could mean some tough questions tonight for base area redevelopment coordinator Joe Kracum, who last month disclosed the price range for initial bids on the base area work before the bidding process was completed. The price range Kracum told Routt County commissioners during a public meeting was reported March 16 in the Steamboat Today.

On Monday, Roberts said Kracum violated the city's procurement regulations for public projects. The City Council renewed Kracum's contract two weeks ago.

"That could be a topic of discussion" tonight, Roberts said. "The reason for the rescind of the (Duckels) contract is the prohibited release of that information."

Kracum said Monday that he regrets his comments to commissioners and doesn't know why he didn't foresee their results.

"This could jeopardize my whole business and doing work in the public sector," Kracum said.

Rebidding the work could cost the city's urban renewal authority $20,000 to $30,000, Roberts said, to redesign the project and ensure a fair process for all contractors submitting new bids. Kracum said he will have more exact estimates tonight of the potential costs and delays from rebidding the project, should City Council decide to do so.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 4:45 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Contact: Call city offices at 970-879-2060 or visit http://steamboatsprings.net for more information.

On the agenda

5 p.m. Convene as the Steamboat Springs Liquor License Authority to set a hearing date for a liquor license application for Café Sweet Pea on Yampa Street; convene as the Steamboat Springs Redevelopment Authority to discuss the protested bid for base area construction work this summer

About 5:30 p.m. Convene as City Council for a meeting with the Routt County Board of Commissioners to discuss growth issues

7 p.m. Public comment on non-agenda items; an intergovernmental agreement with the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, regarding its down payment assistance program; and a second and potentially final reading of an ordinance creating new zones and fees for downtown parking

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