Fort Wayne City Council will vote Tuesday night on a bid to renovate Renaissance Square.
But that bid isn't the lowest.
The low bidder, Schenkel & Sons, claims the city is being unfair and inconsistent, and that taxpayers will have to pay for it.
“I think it's very inconsistent, and I think really the real loser is the taxpayer,” said Clete Schenkel, president of Schenkel & Sons.
The city picked CCI Commercial Construction for the project. Its base bid ($4,279,000) was the lowest.
However, the final contract will include the base bid plus costs for any add-ons to the project. With all that, the overall bid from Schenkel and Sons ($4,543,026) came in less than the overall bid from CCI ($4,554,000).
“I don't understand why city council wants to spend more taxpayer dollars for a project,” said Schenkel.
Councilman Tom Smith (R-1st District) does not. When council votes on the final contract, he plans to vote against it.
“The lowest bidder, including all possible expenses, should get the contract,” said Smith.
Smith says the city needs to be consistent. For example, a contract on a playground at
“I think we need to be consistent and clear to the business community what our policies are, and they are not,” said Smith.
But the city is pushing back against charges that its bidding process is inconsistent. Gina Kostoff, chair of the city’s board of public works, says the entire process is fair.
“Every utility project, every public works project, every construction project, is vastly different,” said Kostoff. “Therefore, the basis of the award can't be the same on every single one.”
Kostoff says bid requirements must be spelled out. In this case, she says,
“Our process is consistent. Our process is that the basis for the award of the bid needs to be specified in the bid package,” said Kostoff.
But the city also specified in the bid instructions that the contract will go to “the lowest and best timely bidder who is also responsive and responsible.”
“The key word is responsive. Responsive can mean a lot of things,” said Kostoff.
Schenkel says the city's statements contradict each other, making it tough to do business.
“I think that if they don't award this contract to the lowest bidder, that the city is sending a message that they don't care how much of their tax dollars they spend,” said Schenkel.
City council will vote on the contract on Tuesday.