Low bid is $50K below estimate, and less than half of the highest bid

    It’s not often that a bid for a major project comes in so low that city officials have to do some follow-up checking to make sure no errors were made.   

    But that’s what happened this week, when the Crookston City Council was poised to approve a bid for painting, cleaning and repair work to the city’s south-end 500,000 gallon water. The range of bids was so vast, from a low bid of $169,000 to a high bid of $331,750, that council members wanted to make sure everything was properly in order before approving the low bid, from Osseo Construction, Co., LLC   

    Public Works Director Pat Kelly said the city’s engineering firm for these types of projects, KLM Engineering, shared similar concerns about not just the wide range of bids, but the fact that the Osseo Construction bid was around $50,000 below the engineer’s estimate. But after some double-checking with the low bidder to verify that there were no errors or omissions, Kelly said the bid checked out just fine.   

    “That’s their bid. Why there’s such a spread is unknown,” Kelly said.   

    The work is expected to commence on or about June 6 and wrap up by July 31. The thinking behind the timeline, Kelly said, is so the work doesn’t conflict with the American Crystal Sugar campaign. “During the campaign, there is high-water use from the south tower,” he explained.   

    The tower hasn’t undergone “major maintenance” for 15 years, Kelly said. KLM Engineering inspected it last year and identified the work that needs to be done, which includes recoating the interior, some repairs and minor structural modifications, and spot-painting. KLM will inspect the north-end water tower this year in advance of repairs on that tower to be undertaken in 2015, he added.   

    The Water Department Fund will finance the project, Kelly said.    

    While the Minnesota Department of Health oversees water departments, Kelly said the repair and maintenance work isn’t necessarily a requirement.   

    “The tower maintenance is to prolong the life of the tower,” he said.