The Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors voted unanimously at the Aug. 4 regular meeting to award the contract to Magorian Mines of Auburn for the South Main Canal and Tunnels project after determining that the discrepancies in Magorian’s bid were inconsequential.
The matter had been referred to OID’s legal counsel and consultant Condor Earth Technologies after protests were filed following the previous regular meeting on July 21, when the bid was conditionally awarded.
Several public comments were heard on the matter that raised concerns about Magorian’s bid and ability to complete the project. An attorney representing Sierra Mountain Construction and Johnson Western Gunite disagreed with OID counsel’s opinion and felt that the discrepancies were significant, citing a failure to list unit prices for four items on the bid as required by contract specifications, as well as Magorian’s lack of demonstrated public works experience.
Sierra Mountain was the second lowest bidder. A difference of $180,000 separated the first and second low bids on the $5.2 million project.
Representatives from union interests and the Foundation for Fair Contracting also took to the podium to make comments, raising questions about the type of work that Magorian typically performs doing wine caves, the company’s manpower, use of “mom and pop” subcontractors, and if they’re able to perform the work in the time period allotted and without significant change orders.
Condor representative Ron Skaggs stated that Magorian was well-evaluated and that the wine caves the company constructs are very large and are like tunnels. He added that the company does most of its own shotcrete work and uses “mom and pop” subcontractors if backup is needed.
All OID directors offered comment with Jack Alpers, Al Bairos, and Tony Taro wanting to go with the lowest bidder, Frank Clark stated his preference for local firms to perform work when bids are close because it benefits the local economy, and Steve Webb initially suggested further review. However, all voted to award the contract to Magorian.
In other business, the board tabled the awarding of the bid for the North Side Regulating Reservoir until Thursday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. during an open session in the OID boardroom.
Sean Carroll, President of Ross F. Carroll Inc., was present and spoke during the public comments portion of the agenda item, stating that his company was the lowest qualified bidder. During board discussion on the matter, a member of the audience, Bobby Goad, spoke up and was ruled “out of order” by Director Alpers. Arguing ensued and Alpers threatened to throw Goad out of the meeting, with Goad asking Alpers if he was going to physically throw him out. After more words were exchanged, Goad left. Director Clark then chastised Alpers about how he could have handled the matter differently. The board then took a brief recess.
Upon reconvening and further discussion, Directors Bairos and Taro initially motioned and seconded to award the project bid to Ross F. Carroll but then withdrew them as General Manager Steve Knell cautioned the board that a legal opinion should first be rendered because of some discrepancies. The directors commented that they felt the discrepancies were minor, but all agreed to table the matter until Thursday, noting that the contract would be awarded to Ross F. Carroll dependent on the legal opinion.
Ross F. Carroll, Inc. was the contractor on the OID’s south side reservoir.
In discussion items, Knell provided an update on the 100-year anniversary celebration, which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., an event that is open to the public.
In other discussion, water transfer (sale) revenues were the topic. The board must decide how it would like to allocate a remaining $1.5 million generated from a water sale to the Westside.
The board had previously approved a water transfer of 20,000 acre feet at $250 per acre foot to help Westside farmers during this drought year. Board policy dictates that revenues are divided with 80 percent going to the Capital Improvement budget and 20 percent to the General Fund. OID revenues from Tri Dam will be down by about $3.5 million and the general fund will need the water sales revenue to balance the budget, which is about 70 percent of the sale revenue, not 20 percent as policy dictates. Assuming the board will approve the water transfer money to offset a shortfall in power revenues from Tri Dam to balance the budget, then they must decide how to use the remaining money. Fifty percent rebates to farmers were discussed, which leaves several hundred thousand left over. Spreading the wealth and sharing some with the community was also mentioned, as was a public comment about giving 100 percent rebates to farmers who are employing water conservation methods. The board’s finance committee will make recommendations and the board will see the item on the action agenda at the next regular meeting.
Also in discussion items, Knell reported that an ill employee went to the doctor and was told he had all the symptoms of the H1N1 (Swine) Flu virus. No swab test was done, but the employee is now well and back at work. Knell said that a company was hired to come in and do a disinfection of the common areas at the OID office and an antiseptic fog was done one evening. OID will continue this practice through the flu season. The H1N1 flu shot will also be made available to employees. If signs of illness are exhibited then employees must go home, including management.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.