PASCO -- The price isn't right for Pasco.
The city council voted 6-1 Monday to throw out bids for the second time for a water project at Highway 395 and Foster Wells Road.
The project, which will improve water service and create a loop system, isn't a necessity, said Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield. But city staff thought that it would be a good time to do the work because of the Commercial Avenue extension.
The city broke ground in February on a project to add a mile of road north of Hillsboro Street to connect with East Foster Wells Road. The road was paid for with an $800,000 state grant and the city spent another $800,000 on water and sewer extensions.
Mayor Matt Watkins said it was the first time he remembers rejecting bids for the same project twice.
Councilman Al Yenney, who voted against rebidding the project, said the city will likely get yet a higher price when it bids the project for the third time. The same contractors bid both times and will increase their bids to take into account their costs.
The city also has to pay each time it puts a project out to bid, Yenney said.
In April, the low bid for the project was from Gonzales Boring & Tunneling Inc., for about $242,000, which was $69,000 higher than the engineer's estimate of $173,000. The council unanimously rejected the bids.
In June, the low bid for the entire project was from the same company, for about $306,000. The city also asked for bids on options that decreased what was included in the project, but the low bids were still higher than the engineer's estimates.
Staff thinks contractors are busy now and are not bidding as aggressively as they would otherwise, Crutchfield said. They suggested trying again in winter. The city can also lower costs by purchasing the piping itself, he said.
Contractors are estimating higher piping costs than the city can get.
-- The council unanimously passed the transportation improvement plan for 2011-16.
For 2011, the plan includes realigning Harris Road between Broadmoor Boulevard and Sandifur Parkway, and the Lewis Street Overpass design and right of way work.
In 2012, the plan includes widening Argent Road between 20th Avenue and the Interstate 182 ramp and improving the Argent Road and Road 68 intersection.
-- The city council unanimously agreed to rehire Bell, Brown & Rio of Kennewick to serve as the city prosecutor.
The contract will cost the city $111,000 for 2010-11 and $114,000 for 2011-12. Of three firms that responded to the city's request for proposals, Bell, Brown & Rio had the lowest cost. The firm was hired by the city last year, and attorneys at the firm have acted as the city prosecutor since 2005, according to the agenda report.
* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org