I am writing in response to my colleague on the city council, Mr. Randy Meyers and his editorial in last Friday’s Tribune titled “City needs to spread the bids around.”
As I read the first few paragraphs I became somewhat skeptical as to the factuality of a lot of Mr. Meyers’ statements as I could not recall Venture Corp. having a significantly large project at the airport in the past few years. Not wanting to take Mr. Meyers statements at face value I did some research of my own and visited Venture Corp. last Monday for any clarification.
What I learned is below.
1. The referred to project by Mr. Meyers was primarily a concrete paving job.
2. There were five bidders on this project.
3. Smokey Hill, Salina, was the low bidder at $1,621,625. Venture Corp. was the third bidder at $1,780,445. Note: Venture Corp. was the only local contractor to bid on this concrete paving project.
4. Smokey Hill subcontracted less than 9 percent of the contract to Venture Corp. — approximately $132,000 — of the total contract. This work was for asphalt work which Smokey Hill does not do. Venture Corp. indicated to me they quoted this portion of work to all but one bidder on the project. Mr. Meyers’ article left me thinking Smokey Hill subcontracted the entire project to Venture Corp.
In regards to soliciting contractors for asphalt projects, and specifically this most recent project, it is my understanding they are advertised for bid through various outlets, giving other asphalt contractors around the state the opportunity to bid on them.
Should other contractors choose not to bid on these asphalt projects, for whatever reason (economics, schedules, etc.) this is not the fault of the city or Venture Corp. as Mr. Meyers’ article would want you to believe. I for one am glad we have a local asphalt company at our fingertips. I believe the benefits far exceed the alternative.
Prior to leaving Venture Corporation I gathered some interesting facts about them which I feel warrant mentioning.
1 Venture Corp. does work throughout Kansas and Oklahoma and those dollars return to this community.
2 Accounts payable to Barton County vendors in 2010 was in excess of $3.5 million.
3 Payments to the Barton County Treasurer (2010) were $159,485.48 of which $88,000 were in property taxes.
4 251 hired employees in 2010 of which 177 had Barton County residency and 85 long term employees reside in Barton County.
5 Employees contribute to the United Way of Barton County.
6 Contribute to CASA, DARE program, GBHS, Kiwanis and Lions Club to name a few.
7 Have donated work at the airport, humane society, and in 2006 donated paving a city-owned
In closing, Mr. Meyers’ article lacked accuracy, was misleading, tended to point the finger and appeared to be anti-local business.
As a citizen of Great Bend and city councilman, I think we as a community are better off with local companies like Venture Corporation, Marmies, and Eldridge Fencing than we are without.