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Turf vendor’s bid not cheapest, other factors trump price
by Joan Durbin
January 17, 2013 10:41 AM | 2211 views | 1 1 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Roswell city council members stuck with their staff’s recommendation and OK’d awarding a contract for artificial turf to a company that wasn’t the low bidder.

Councilman Jerry Orlans, the elected body’s liaison to recreation and parks, made the motion to give the contract to said his direction to staff evaluating bids was to get the “best value for the best product…..I don’t want to have problems five years, 10 years down the road” with any turf that is installed on the city’s seven athletic fields.

Medeallion Athletics won the staff recommendation based on its ability to perform as well as the price, according to Administrator of Park Services Jeff Pruitt.

The project includes design and engineering elements as well as turf installation, and Medeallion offers what Pruitt termed a “turn key operation,” meaning that all crews for each phase of the work were the company’s in-house personnel rather than subcontractors.

Medeallion’s bid was $2.92 million. Roswell had originally estimated the cost to do up to seven fields at $3.5 million, Councilman Rich Dippolito noted.

Financing will come from city bond issue passed by voters last November.

Other bids came in up to $500,000 less, and representatives of another company as well as several residents argued that the evaluation process was flawed and the contract should be rebid.

In explaining the process, Pruitt said a staff committee initially evaluated bid submissions based solely on how the bids met city specifications and responses company representatives gave to questions in oral presentations.

“We did not know the dollar figures from the businesses. We worked with what the submissions that were turned in,” Pruitt said.

The committee members also talked with several municipalities and governmental entities that have had synthetic turf installed on fields and also visited some of those fields to see the end product, Pruitt said.

Councilwoman Betty Price, the only elected official to vote against awarding the contract to Medeallion, questioned Pruitt and Finance Director Keith Lee closely about the vendor evaluations. She advocated delaying a contract award until all bids could be scrutinized again.

Price said the half million dollars more that Roswell will be paying Medeallion could be spent on other worthwhile city projects that have been held up due to lack of funds.

But Councilwoman Nancy Diamond said “we can lose that (half million) in a hurry trying to repair a problem, and I’m not ready to take that chance. Our people out there are telling us this is our best option.”

Councilwoman Becky Wynn concurred, saying that Medeallion having a turn key operation is a “huge, huge asset.”

Though he does not vote unless there is a tie, Mayor Jere Wood said he personally would have opted for a less expensive bid.

“I’m cheap,” Wood said. “I shop at the Dollar Store.”

The mayor said he was “comfortable with the process and comfortable with the integrity of our staff and with their recommendation. But I’d be a little cheaper.”

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