Councillor says city’s checks and balances prevent inflated costs when tenders draw single bidder
St. John’s has awarded its second contract of the year for street rehabilitation — but just one contractor bid on the work.
At its regular Monday meeting this week, city council awarded a tender to Modern Paving for $4.6 million to continue pavement repair work this year.
No other contractors submitted bids.
Last month, council approved an $8-million contract with Pyramid Construction for the first portion of work. Modern Paving bid on that contract, too, but its $8.4-million bid was higher than Pyramid’s.
Coun. Jonathan Galgay, chairman of the city’s public works committee, acknowledged it’s preferable to have more than one bidder, but added the city has an “open and transparent” bidding process.
“I think what’s happening here is we have significant roadwork happening within the city, as well as the outside areas — Mount Pearl, Paradise, Torbay,” he said. “I think there’s a greater demand on some of these companies, and some maybe don’t have the staff, they don’t have the equipment to do it. I don’t think it’s necessarily a concerning point for us, because we do have an open system.”
The city doesn’t always go with the lowest bidder. Galgay said city staff have criteria that tenders have to meet before they’re considered for any contract, and will have an idea of a reasonable price range for bids.
“There are some checks and balances that our staff will go back and say, ‘Based on standards, this is way, way over,’ and we’d have to have some discussions about that,” he said. “I do think we have a very strong system in place that we’d be able to pick up on potential bidders that would try to abuse the system.”