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Low bidder loses out on city project

Prior relationship with the other bidder cited as reason

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EAGLE MOUNTAIN — A do-it-now-and-explain-later plan hatched by Eagle Mountain city leaders could bring some legal grief.

The City Council voted Tuesday to reject the lowest bid for work to extend the city-owned electric utility lines to the site of a new elementary school. The contract was awarded to the next-lowest bidder instead.

City Attorney Gerald Kinghorn urged council members to have solid reasons on record before rejecting the low bid. "To take other than the low bid, you must be very clear about the reasons why," Kinghorn said.

Councilman Greg Kehl said the company that received the contract — BMCI Electric Inc. of Heber City — has a proven track record with the city. Tasco Engineering, the low bidder, does not.

Gary Tassainer, owner of Tasco Engineering, said he plans to consult with an attorney to determine his options. Tasssainer said his company recently settled a lawsuit with the city over past disputes on city projects and assumed the company was back in good standing. While the school job itself is not a make-or-break job, Tassainer said, "I'll be d----- if I'll be treated unfairly."

Tasco bid $52,901.11 for the electric infrastructure extension to the grade school site. BMCI's bid was $55,588. The other two bids came in at $77,474 and $89,212.

Councilman Mark Madsen said he could not vote for a motion that included justifying the decision in retrospect. He and Linn Strouse voted against the motion.

Public Works Director Mark Sovine said the low bid was in order except that the price for electrical cable appeared to be unusually low.

He said the Tasco price was 50 to 100 percent lower than prices identified in the other bids.

"My concern would be whether we'd be looking at a lot of change orders," Sovine said.

Sovine said the Alpine School District is anxious to move ahead on the construction work and recommended against delaying the contract award.

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com