The Excelsior Springs City Council voted 5-0 Monday night to hire V.F. Anderson Builders LLC to construct a new water line that will provide the Kimball Avenue/Old Orchard Avenue/Shirewood Road corridor with more consistent water service.
However, the decision wasn’t made lightly. A significant difference between Anderson’s quoted price and the next-lowest bid made some on the council question the bid.
According to Public Works Director Chad Birdsong, who presented the contract to the council on behalf of Director of Utility Services Tom Wall, who was absent from the meeting, Anderson’s price was by far the lowest of the five bids submitted by general contractors for the job.
In fact, V.F. Anderson’s price tag of $797,682 was nine percent below what engineering firm Shafer Kline Warren, Inc., had anticipated—and about 29 percent below the amount proposed by the next-lowest bidder. The highest bid was in the neighborhood of $1.2 million.
However, Birdsong said SKW checked out the company and found that they are reputable and have done numerous projects in various Kansas City area municipalities. He said the explanation offered for the difference in price boils down to the number of similar jobs V.F. Anderson does, which gives them an advantage of volume in purchasing pipes.
Mayor Ambrose Buckman said he also checked V.F. Anderson out and determined that they are apparently a good, stable company.
Councilman Brent McElwee said he still had some questions, since some of the other bidders also buy large volumes of pipes, but he said he would rely on the research done by city officials and SKW and vote with the rest of the council to award the bid.
The contract gives V.F. Anderson a time period of 150 days from the date on the notice to proceed to finish the project.
For more on this story, see the print edition or e-edition of the Friday, Aug. 9, Standard.
By Eric Copeland • firstname.lastname@example.org