>City staff, bidders agree to terms allowing bid to go to Western Water Development
The bid for the City of Prineville's latest water project will go to Western Water Development the city council decided in a unanimous vote Wednesday night.
   Boart Longyear Geo-Tech and Schneider Equipment also bid for the project to drill two new wells for the city.
   "After the council meeting the consultant communicated with the other two companies that had submitted bids and they were supportive of the city's desire to try to work something out with Western (Water Development) drilling," said City Manager Robb Corbett.
   He said the city next proceeded with the negotiations with Western to ensure that they would be able to comply with the standards and the timelines that were outlined in the contract.
   Corbett said the company signed an addendum to the contract verifying it would adhere to the timeline and standards.
   "The discussion that took place were between the city's attorney and the attorney for Mr. Buckner (general manager and project manager representing Western)," Corbett said.
   The discussions began on Friday and concluded Wednesday, he added.
   Details of the conversation were relayed to the city council and they made their decision Wednesday night.
   The decision comes after councilors came to a deadlock last Tuesday night while attempting to award the bid.
   At the meeting, there was a discrepancy in the city council's informational packet and the recommendation of the specialist to the city, Jeff Barry of GSI Water Solutions.
   "The communications error was (due to) the short timelines we had," Corbett said. "At the time the staff report was put together for the city council packet, we were proceeding as if everything was complete with bid submittals. At the same time, we were reviewing the bid submittals to verify that." "When the city council meeting started, what we had found out from the point that the city council packet was sent out, to the point that the city council meeting started, we determined that the bid documents were not bid according to the standards outlined," the city manager explained.
   City staff was informed that the bids were not submitted according to the standards put out in the specifications. "That discussion, along with the city attorney, led to a staff report that recommended at the time that the bid be awarded to the next lowest bidder," Corbett said.
   He said there will be no policy change or recommendation to the council on how to deal with bids in the future.
   The city manager said two factors led to the decision to award the bid to Western.
   "The threat of a protest, and discussions with the contractor that allowed the city council to believe that it was in their best interest to award it to the number one builder," Corbett said.
   "Those discussions about the methods (as well as) assurances that they would be able to meet the timelines with the specifications, that is what led to that point."
   Corbett said specialist Barry was able to speak with the two other bidders, Boart Longyear Geo-Tech and Schneider Equipment.
   "Those discussions culminated in an acknowledgment by the other two bidders that if we were to work out something with Mr. Buckner on the methods that he used to drill the wells, they would not protest that effort," Corbett said.
   Schneider Equipment's original bid for the project was $566,920 and Boart Longyear Geo-Tech's was for $454,749. Western Water Development's bid was lowest at $419,355.
   "I just want to thank the people of Prineville for the opportunity," Robert Buckner of Western said. "We are ready to get started and work hard to get it done."