Cherokee Construction was chosen after it was determined to be the lowest and best bid. Another bid was lower, but the company had failed to complete all of the forms in the bid packet.
A motion to accept the lowest bid received nine votes. The measure needed 10 votes to pass. Another motion was made by 7th District Commissioner Mark Hall to accept the recommendation of Kim Frady of the Agricultural Extension Service. The motion was passed 10-3. Commissioner Terry Caywood was absent.
Frady said the expansion will provide a separate area for food preparation needed before the canning process.
“It’s not a very big project, but I think it’s very crucial to the operation of that facility,” Frady said. “It will just make it so much better for the people who use it.”
Frady first said the decision was up to the Commission and he did not have a recommendation. Later, when asked again, Frady said “based on the information that you’ve heard here today, then my recommendation would be to accept the bid of Cherokee Construction.”
Commissioners had differing opinions on whether the lowest bid should be disqualified because it was missing a form.
“The bid form itself has the specification of what the lump sum (price for the project) entails as far as labor, materials, things like that,” Sandra Knight said.
“The form that he failed to submit actually recognized that there were additions or corrections made to the plan then when they were originally handed out at the previous meeting,” said Amanda Whitley of the Bradley County engineering department.
An architect for the expansion working on the project prepared the bid packet.
Funding for the project is coming out of revenue left in the department’s budget from last fiscal year. At earlier meetings, the project was approved by the finance committee and the Commission.
Both companies had submitted bids under the initial bid price. Companies interested in submitting bids for the project were required to attend a prebid meeting where disks with electronic copies of the bid forms were handed out.
County engineer Sandra Knight said many elements of the packet are the same as any other bid project because it is dictated by state law. She said the standard form ensures that the Commission is comparing similar work when comparing projects. The Commission is not required to choose the lowest bid. Instead the Commission chooses the bid it considers to be the best job for the lowest price.
Fifth District Commissioner Jeff Yarber pointed out that the Commission had the option to except or reject any or all of the bids.
Fouth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said for him the time frame in which Cherokee Construction said the project could be completed made it a better option.
Knight said throughout the process all potential bidders are given the same information.
Postponing the vote to a later date had been discussed, but was not pursued because the information for the decision would not change.
Frady said use of the cannery has increased in recent years.
“More folks are trying to save food and preserve food on their own,” Frady said.
He said last year more than 350 families used the cannery.