Moultrie firm seeks bid reconsideration

ALBANY -- An attorney representing a general contractor in Moultrie contends that the Dougherty County Commission erred in awarding a $729,000 contract for the construction of a public works building to an Albany-based company that was not the low bidder.

Officials with JCI General Contractors of Moultrie contend that the county should have awarded the bid to them. Instead, the county voted to award the bid to Albany-based LRA Construction.

During discussions of the bid during their July 7 regular meeting, commissioners debated whether to stick with JCI or to give LRA the contract.

Discussion boiled down to the price difference between the two, which was roughly $2,000, or less than one percent of the total amount.

The commission has become increasingly sensitive to local small businesses in their bidding process, even setting up a small business program designed to give local small businesses who become certified through the county an opportunity to participate in a limited sheltered market program.

However, Chairman Jeff Sinyard and others on the commission have repeatedly stated the need to "protect the integrity of the bidding process," by not running off the competition that is vital to keep prices low for the taxpayers.

During Monday's meeting, the commission voted to award another construction bid -- this one for a new EMS building that is to be funded through a one-percent sales tax -- to a Valdosta-based company.

That decision was also the subject of discussion by the board during its work session last week out of fears that Lowndes County nor the City of Valdosta allow open bidding on their government projects by Dougherty County companies.

Since that discussion, it has been noted that Valdosta and Lowndes both have limitations on their bidding processes, but Valdosta has a sheltered market similar to Dougherty County while Lowndes County has a two-percent preference on bids on their projects.