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Council seeks to rebid 8th Street work
Bids for project tossed out after heated discussion
new deh city council grant eighth street pic web
The paving of the new stretch of Eight Street between Grant and McKinley streets became a hot topic at the Great Bend City Council meeting Monday night. - photo by Tribune file photo

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved the publication of the city’s budget following a discussion on the Great Bend Public Library budget. This fell under old business as the issue had come up during earlier budget planning meetings.

• Approved waterline project change order number two. Josh Golka, the city’s on-call engineer from Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, said the first change order came in under the “not to exceed” amount of $294,596.74. It totalled $214,528.74, which left the city with a remaining budget for additional improvements and modifications of $1,066,042.31. 

City staff has identified additional improvements and modifications for change order two not to exceed $510,021, Golka said.

Included is work on: Morton from Broadway to Lakin; Jackson from Lakin to Broadway; and 12th from Main to Stone.

Golka said 516,000 remains in the budget for what was a $6 million project. So, another change order for more work could be forthcoming.

It was noted that the project is about 70 percent complete and ahead of schedule. Contractors have until next March, but work could be done by late fall or early winter.

• Approved rebidding a paving project for Eighth Street. This is relation to the expansion of the street between Grant and McKinley.

• Approved abatements at: 401 Cedar, accumulation of trash and refuse, owned by Mario and Tisha Garcia; 1402 Lakin, accumulation of trash and refuse, owned by Fredrick Mitchell Jr.; and 3017 10th, accumulation of trash and refuse, owned by Retreat at Great Bend LLC. (this is the former Highland Hotel location).

• Approved a cereal-malt beverage license for Mizumi Sushi and Steak, requested by Lu Tseng.

• Approved a door-to-door license for Have It Maid (Tabitha Dunn) out of Great Bend.

• Approved a street closure for Lakin Avenue between Main and Kansas on Aug. 11 for the Crosswinds of Kansas Blessed Bike Rally.

• Approved a street closure for Main Street from 24th to 12th during the Together as a Community We Stand Parade on Sept. 8 from 5-6:30 p.m. or until the end of the parade. Organizers said they will have a band playing at Jack Kilby Square following the parade.

• Approved allowing 3.2 cereal malt beverages in Jack Kilby Square from 5:30 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 8, and an extension of the curfew past midnight for clean-up, all related to the Together as a Community We Stand event. 

• Heard a report from City Administrator Kendal Francis.

• Heard an economic development report from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jan Peters. 

 After a sometimes heated discussion, the Great Bend City Council Monday night vote to toss out all four bids it had received for paving the new stretch of Eighth Street between Grant and McKinley. The city hopes to rebid the work and be able to present the new proposals to the council on Aug. 20.

The problem was one of the requirements in the bid specifications drawn up by Josh Golka, the city’s on-call engineer from Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita. It stated that bidders must present written proof they have Kansas Department of Transportation pre-certification.

“You guys have a very difficult choice to make,” Golka said. 

This is not a KDOT project, but Golka said the certification offers quality assurance that the contractor is capable of the job. Golka prepared the specs last fall with input from former City Administrator Howard Partington, former Public Works Director Charlie Suchy and former city engineering technician Carl Otter, who all requested the KDOT requirement.

The specs did allow for either asphalt or concrete.

Bidding for the project were:

• Venture Corporation of Great Bend bidding $468,876.95 for asphalt which was below the engineer’s estimate of $680,663 for asphalt.

• Suchy Construction Inc. of Great Bend bidding $462,951.61 for concrete (the over-all low bid and below the concrete engineering estimate of $724,233). However, Suchy Construction didn’t have the certification when it submitted its bid, but has it submitted now.

• Vogts-Parga Construction of Newton bidding $497,314.30 for concrete. It has the certification, but did not submit proof with its bid.

• L and M Contractors of Great Bend bidding $514,560 for concrete. It also has the certification, but did not submit proof.

So, technically, Venture had the only legitimate bid, Golka said. 

In Fact, “the other bids shouldn’t have even been read,” Golka said. “It was a mistake on my part.”

There were other fireworks as well.

Randy Suchy demanded Golka explain why he hadn’t returned all of his phone calls. Golka said legal action had been threatened so the matter was turned over to their legal council.

Randy Suchy also leveled bid-rigging charges against other contractors.

“How dare you do this?” Venture’s Kip Spray responded.

No good answer

Randy Suchy was vocal about the KDOT requirement.

Now, that the work will be rebid with the same criteria, other contractors may be upset.

“Everyone’s cards are on the table,” Golka said. The previous bids are now public and could impact the next round of bidding.

There is another concern. This work is integral to the planned improvements to 10th and Grant intersection since it would help ease traffic during that project.

That is a KDOT project and it will be bid in October, Golka said. But, work won’t start until next March.

Although contractors were given the option to bid asphalt or concrete, Golka said concrete does have a longer life span. “Concrete is a wise investment if it is within budget.”

“This is not an easy decision,” the engineer said.

Councilman Andrew Erb moved to throw out the bids and start over and Councilman Brock McPherson seconded the motion. It passed 4-3 with Councilwoman Jolene Biggs abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Several individuals spoke at Monday night’s Great Bend City Council meeting regarding the bidding for the Eighth Street pavement project, and there needs to be some clarification.
First, Randy Suchy, who addressed concerns Monday, is not affiliated with Suchy Construction, having sold out to his brother Rick 15 years ago. So, Rick, who also spoke Monday, is the owner of the company.
Aaron Suchy addressed the council as well on behalf of Suchy Construction. He is the owner of Great Bend Ready Mix.