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City to rebid downtown water project

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POLSON — Due to a bid specification that was not adhered to, Polson City Commissioners voted unanimously to rebid the downtown water looping project at their Oct. 6 commission meeting. At their previous meeting on Sept. 15, commissioners tabled the decision on the final award of the bid.

The top bidder was Russell Excavating, but there was an issue with that bid, namely a bid specification that mobilization, or costs to get equipment and crew to the project, couldn’t exceed four percent of the total bid.

In a subsequent phone interview, Polson City Manager Mark Shrives said Russell’s mobilization costs went over four percent. Jensen Excavating was the second place bidder.

During the Oct. 6 meeting, Shrives noted City Attorney Rich Gebhardt said the language allows the City to return the bid bonds and rebid the project in the spring. The commission opted to do just that.

Steve Jensen, Jensen Excavating, and Dave Russell, Russell Excavation, both had comments. 

In a phone interview, Jensen said, “When we do a bid, we are committed.” 

He pointed out that bidders were required put up 10 percent of the bid bond. 

“I’ve worked in Polson for 45 years and built three-quarters of the town. I’ve got my heart and soul in this town,” he said.

Jensen also said he wanted the City Commissioners to know that returning the project to bid is very out of the ordinary. 

Russell said he feels his company is a responsible bidder. 

“Montana law says we can fix the bid,” Russell said. “I still feel not awarding it to Russell Excavation is not right.”     

The commissioners also voted to levy and assess: special improvement districts, light maintenance districts, noxious weed control, maintenance and delinquent utilities at their Oct. 6 meeting. A public hearing on levy and assessment was held at 6:30 p.m. preceding the city commission meeting. 

Also during the meeting Polson Fire Chief John Fairchild presented a special award from the Mt. Vernon, Washington Fire Department to Polson firefighter Drew Hoel. Hoel was on vacation in Mt. Vernon and about to go fishing at the Edgewater boat launch when he noticed a commotion among a group of people - a person in their party was not breathing. He began CPR and continued until an ambulance and first responders arrived.

Due in part to Hoel’s efforts, the person survived the incident.

In other news, Jason Moore, Naomi Billedeaux, Ken Camel, Jason Erickson and May Simmons informed commissioners about the Montana Co-op food hub and plans for a community center on the southeast corner of Fourth Ave. and Main Street. Moore has spent four years starting the Montana Co-op and the Kid’s Co-op. Part of his group’s mission is to establish a food hub in each community. They also plan a community center and eventually a restaurant where the old Stageline Pizza storefront was on Fourth Ave. Billedeaux will be leading dancing, from Native to ballet to performance dance while Camel teaches non-contact boxing and conditioning. Moore and Erickson are in the business center, while Simmons is the retail store manager, selling fresh local eggs and produce.  

In other business, commissioners approved the final plat of Lot 1 of the parkland of Westana Homesites. They also approved the final plat of Ridgewater commercial subdivision, phase 5, and accepted the Polson Redevelopment Agency’s annual report.

The next commission meeting will be held Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at Polson City Hall, 106 First Street E.


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