Well project will leave someone all wet

Well, well, well. Prineville City Council got itself in quite a predicament Tuesday night while attempting to award a bid for the city's latest well project.
   Three companies, three very different bid cost numbers, and one sticky wicket where no matter what the council decides, will leave one company all wet.
   The well bids are as follows: Western Water Development, Inc., $419,355; Boart Longyear/Geotech, $454,749; and Schneider Equipment, $566,920.
   So why not go with the lowest bidder?
   Well, it's a long story.
   In short, the Prineville City Council was so badly burned financially by the last well project, they are entering this one with extreme caution.
   The city brought on specialist Jeff Barry, of GSI Water Solutions in Portland, to bid the project and recommend a company.
   Barry took his marching orders and created a set of requirements he believed would help the city award a bid to the company that presented the least amount of risk and would allow the city to complete the project on time and on budget.
   One of those requirements called for a certain type of tool to be used.
   And well, the lowest bidder doesn't want to use that tool based on his previous successful experiences using a different tool on similar wells.
   We do not envy the council the decision before them. We do commend them for not awarding a bid before clear guidelines for such an award have been established.
   City council needs to decide if they want to establish a policy where they always accept the lowest bid or a policy where they accept the lowest bid that meets the special requirements of the project.
   We believe establishing such a policy would be well worth it.