City Council OKs Main Street contract
The Grand Junction City Council unanimously agreed Wednesday night to award a contract to FCI Constructors for the first half of the renovation of Main Street downtown, despite concerns that the company will hire two out-of-town subcontractors.
Council members chose FCI’s $2.31 million bid over Sorter Construction’s $2.39 million bid to build the first phase of the Downtown Uplift, which will cover Main between First and Fourth streets.
The award of the contract was a matter of some controversy because FCI tentatively plans to bring in a Loveland company to replace water and storm water lines and a Las Vegas company to do landscaping. Combined, their work will account for 18 percent of the project cost, according to Grand Junction Public Works and Planning Director.
Officials with Sorter, meanwhile, indicated they planned to hire all local subcontractors to do the work.
Sorter and one of its subcontractors, Adcock Concrete, as well as a group of Main Street business owners, objected to the prospect of giving money to companies outside the valley, noting that officials with the city and the Downtown Development Authority encourage people to shop at locally owned stores. Main Street business owners submitted a petition asking the city to require that all subcontractors on the Downtown Uplift be based in Mesa County.
The City Council traditionally has awarded contracts to the lowest bidder while reserving the right to examine bids individually in case there are extenuating circumstances that would cause the board to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder.
On Wednesday, council members rejected the push to effectively adopt a local-preference policy, saying it could anger other communities, which, in turn, could adopt their own local-preference policies. That, in turn, could endanger local contractors’ ability to work outside the Grand Valley, they said.
“As much as I would like to find a reason to compel (FCI) to hire locally, that’s really not our policy,” Councilman Gregg Palmer said. “As much as I would like to find a reason to perhaps find for a higher (bid) amount because (Sorter is) going to hire more local people, the truth is FCI followed all the rules .. and they won the low bid.”
Councilwoman Bonnie Beckstein noted the local economy still stands to gain something by having outside companies come here to work.
“Anytime we can hire local we need to hire local, but at the same time, when these people come into our community, they’re spending money. They’re staying at hotels. They’re eating at restaurants,” she said.