CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council could not agree on the proper procedure for moving forward with a nearly $345,000 project to inventory and map the city’s entire water infrastructure system, a task city staff member said is included under the existing items for its contracted engineering firm, but that some on the Council felt needed to be bid on, separately.
The Council tabled a decision at its Jan. 14 meeting and staff will bring back additional information showing due diligence on the proposal for Council consideration at its Jan. 28 meeting.
At issue is a proposal to inventory, locate and provide detailed mapping in a web-based geographic information system. This is essential to allowing the city to properly control and maintain its vast water system, according to the staff report.
Arrow Engineering, hired by the city a year ago for various engineering tasks, quoted a project cost of $343,270, which includes the web-based hosting of the GIS map for the first year.
Senior Building Official Joe Barragan explained that for this type of project, the city seeks a request for qualifications to hire the proper firm in a competitive process for their professional services, then tasks such as this project, are issued under that contract for the services detailed
under the qualifications.
Capital Improvement Projects were separated out of the budget this year, which is why it is being brought forth separately at this time, he said.
Council members, however, balked at giving the go-ahead without making it directly competitive to ensure they have the best price.
“We’re talking about a potential project of $350,000 and truly, it seems to me that the only way we could improve this would be for it to go out to bid,” Council Member Nick Lessenevitch said. “I don’t think we can just let staff come in and make a recommendation.”
Councilmember Ron Smith agreed that at least three bids should be required for any project which spends city funds.
“I can’t, with a clear conscience, if there’s not three bids, I can’t vote for it,” he said.
Barragan said it would not be possible to conduct a fair bid process at this point, once Arrow Engineering’s quote was public.
Arrow Engineering was selected for the city’s engineering professional services under the proper Request for Qualifications process, City Attorney Scott Porter said.
Each of the types of services used in the proposed project are listed under Arrow Engineering’s professional services contract, Brian Glidden of Arrow Engineering said.
“I just feel that we are kind of in this place that we don’t know if this is a reasonable bid to do the job,” Lessenevitch said. “I don’t want to feel like I didn’t do my due diligence.”
He said he was not opposed to the project itself, but wanted more information that Arrow Engineering is right for the contract.
Although the mapping project was put on hold, the Council did approve a second portion of the proposal to purchase a new laptop and software for the city’s chief water operator to replace one that is outdated and software that is no longer supported.
The laptop and one-year software subscription come to $3,230.
The purchase was approved on a 3-1 vote, with Smith dissenting.