By JIM MAURER
CAREY — Attorneys for two companies and Carey are in discussions over an electric substation contract given to Vaughn Industries, Carey, during the Jan. 3 council meeting, even though Quality Lines, Findlay, bid considerably less.
The work includes construction of a new electric substation near Continental Structural Plastics to serve the company and the southern end of the village, plus several alternative projects and replacement of 98 power poles throughout the village.
Vaughn bid more than $2.26 million, while Quality bid $1.5 million.
Council voted 4-2, with Councilmen Robert Styer and Chase Fletcher voting against, to award Vaughn the contract. At the time, Styer suggested waiting for a consultant’s recommendation.
The consultant, GPD, an Akron-based engineering company which designed the project, did not recommend either company, according to Village Administrator Roy Johnson, but suggested the low bid be reviewed by another contractor “because of concern about the (low) amount of labor.”
Quality’s labor amount was listed at $500,000 and Vaughn’s labor amount was listed at more than $1.2 million.
Johnson said according to federal guidelines from the Economic Development Administration, unless a “bidder has been disbarred due to failure to complete a project, physically escorted off a contracted work site and terminated, or have past or pending litigation against them for work or safety violations, they cannot be excluded from the low bidder classification in making an award determination for a project involving federal dollars.”
The village has contracted with the Findlay company for several other jobs over the years, Johnson said.
The Economic Development Administration previously approved a more than $1.3 million grant for the project, which is in jeopardy without council approval of the lower bid, Johnson said.
“If we don’t take the low bid, they can’t OK the grant,” Johnson said.
If the contract is awarded to Vaughn, Johnson said, the village would pay the entire amount.
That would likely doom the project because the village would have to use electric department money, he said, including funds used to purchase electric power each month. That would not be a wise use of those funds, he said.
The village operates its own electric distribution with several substations, but purchases power from multiple sources and charges residents.
The village previously purchased about $800,000 worth of equipment for the substation project, which is in storage.
Council will discuss the issue at the 7 p.m. Jan. 17 council meeting.
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