WEST ALEXANDRIA — Bidding for a school district paving project was one topic of a Wednesday, June 25, Twin Valley Community Local School Board of Education meeting.
Becker Blacktop, Asphalt Sealcoaters, and Stupp Paving each submitted bids to Twin Valley Local School District to tackle the paving project outlined by the school. The project will include filling potholes throughout the paved portions of the school grounds.
There was an approximate $30,000 difference between the high and low bids.
“I finally got to the point where I was looking at, was ‘how much product are you going to give me, how much coverage are you going to give me with sealing and crack-filler,” said TVSLSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Moore.
“We felt like, in this particular situation, we have some areas that are in desperate need of just being saw cut out and replaced, and making sure that those are sealed and laid down properly. I’m not an expert on asphalt paving, but I do know it makes a big difference on who installs it … We’ve had Stupp Paving in here, and we’ve had a couple of patches … and they’re still holding up really well.”
Stupp Paving filled potholes in the pavement roughly seven years ago, according to Maintenance and Transportation Supervisor Lee Myers.
Moore said the estimates given by Stupp Paving were more “representative of what our needs are.”
“There are pros and cons to each,” said Moore. “Not saying either one is better than the other. For our application, I think Stupp Paving represented this ‘404 asphalt’ basically for better expansion and contraction and low-traffic.”
Dr. Moore said he considers the parking lot to be low-traffic, as opposed to a high-traffic area such as Ohio 503. The 404 asphalt “is more responsive” to extreme temperatures, according to Moore.
The three-phase project with Stupp Paving could cost the district $72,000.
Board member Mike Randolph initially wasn’t so convinced. “Usually, when you have a $30,000 difference in bids, somebody’s low-balling, or somebody doesn’t understand,” he said.
Board member Jason DeLong shared Randolph’s concerns.
“There’s $30,000 difference here, they’re obviously not all apples to apples, here,” said DeLong. “How can we negotiate and counter-offer? … I don’t think that the whole point of the law of putting this out to bid is to handcuff the district from negotiating on this … how can we do that and stay in the guidelines of putting out for bid, instead of just saying, ‘sure, we’ll spend 72 grand, let’s do it’ when I know that he would come off that number … if this is what we want to do as a board, and this is $72,000. Can we put this out for bid, and can we call Clay Stupps and say ‘hey, the board said they want to stay at $50 grand, but we like what you’ve got. We put it out for bid, let’s look at it again and see how close we can get to it,’ and let’s see if we can chop $15, $20 grand off this thing.”
“Any contractor can cut whatever they want, you’re not going to get [the offer from Stupp Paving] for $20 grand less. That’s the whole thing with it though, you’re talking the quality of work that he’s got built in. Even if you go back and re-negotiate with him, what you’re going to get is, yeah, he’s going to maybe cut some money off there, or maybe re-negotiate our price, but without telling you, he’s going to re-negotiate the quality of what he does,” said Randolph. “He has a bottom line too, and that’s what you risk when you do that.”
“The integrity of the bidding process is what you have to watch,” said TVLSD Treasurer Rachel Tate.
“If you take bids out, and you take the smallest one in the room, and tell everybody, ‘hey, this is what you have to beat’, that’s illegal,” said Board President Sean Maggard.
DeLong entertained the idea of running the bid again, to which Tate emphasized the small window of opportunity, from July 14 to the end of July, which gives pavers the time to pave the parking lots, as football season has not yet begun.
The board approved using Stupps Paving for the first phase of the project, and will revisit the discussion after the completion of the first phase.
Funding for the project would come from the district’s permanent improvement fund.