ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- After a long and brutal winter left significant signs of wear and tear on Rock Island roads, a divided city council granted a road repair project to the second-lowest bidder after denying the job to Brandt Construction, which had the low bid.
Voting 4-2, alderman awarded an asphalt street milling and patching project contract to Valley Construction with a bid of $68,884. Brandt construction bid $67, 584 for the job.
"Thirteen-hundred dollars might not seem like much but it could buy a lot of cold patch to fix some of the potholes in Rock Island they don’t have the money to fix," said Dennis Heppen, who manages Brandt Construction's asphalt plant.
Brandt's handling of a project three years ago on Rock Island's Sixth Avenue could have cost them this year. The project ran months behind schedule.
"The city does have the right to reject bids and the city does have a right to consider past performance," said Rock Island City Manager Randty Tweet.
Brandt admitted there were problems on the job, but says look at Sixth Avenue now.
"It was a multi-million dollar underground sewer project that went through bedrock," said Heppen. "We encountered many issues that were unknown to either the engineering firm, the city of Rock Island or obviously the contractor."
Alderman Joshua Schipp pointed out OSHA violations and the long delayed completion in his assessment of Brandt's past performance.
"I saw no effort to repair the relationship and the trust with the city after the project," said Schipp. "In fact, it was almost the opposite," he said.
Mayor Mike Thoms said there were issues with that project that may have tripped up any contractor on the job. But this decision came down to a split vote by the city council, which Brandt construction worries could set a bad precedent for them.
"It’s not going to make or break us -- it’s a very small project," said Heppen. "It’s the principle. About making the right decisions financially," he said.