VACAVILLE — Rejecting bids on a $2 million public works project because of a bid irregularity deadlocked the Vacaville City Council on a 2-2 vote Tuesday.
The bid award, which the city staff said involved an irregularity that did not affect bids on the Brown Street project, will return to the council at its next meeting when all five members are expected to be present.
Councilman Ron Rowlett said the fact that the low bidder failed to list license numbers of subcontractors as required by law warranted rebidding the sewer lift station project and masonry building.
“I don’t think we should just consider that a minor irregularity,” he said.
Shawn Cunningham, assistant director of public works, told the council that while a new law requires listing such license numbers, bidding forms the city provided companies asked only for names and locations of subcontractors.
Councilman Mitch Mashburn said the omission by the low bidder Mountain Cascade of Livermore is partly the city’s fault.
“I’m kind of the law-and-order guy,” Mashburn said of supporting Rowlett’s motion to reject bids.
Mashburn said the matter is more significant than the inconsequential irregularity the city staff described.
Mayor Steve Hardy and Councilman Curtis Hunt voted against the motion to reject all bids. Hunt said he is more concerned about the low bid being 37 percent higher than the engineer’s estimate of $1.5 million as provided by NV5, the city’s consultant.
Councilwoman Dilenna Harris was absent Tuesday because of a family emergency.
The city staff said a bid is responsive if a discrepancy is inconsequential and does not affect the bid amount, provide an advantage, allow favoritism or influence other companies to refrain from bidding.
San Francisco-based Con-Quest Contractors, whose $2.1 million bid was the second-lowest among six companies, challenged the bid award to Mountain Cascade.
The city staff said Vacaville would not have relied upon license numbers of subcontractors even if Mountain Cascade provided them, because the city confirms such information with the Contractors State License Board.
Con-Quest Contractors contends the city has no discretion to allow the information to be omitted, according to a city staff report.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.