Bidding glitch adds $173K to water meter work by South Tahoe Public Utility District |

Bidding glitch adds $173K to water meter work by South Tahoe Public Utility District

Tom Lotshaw

A procedural bidding mistake is adding about $173,000 in costs to a water meter installation project South Tahoe Public Utility District wants to do this summer.

The district planned to award a $2.99 million contract to the apparent low bidder Aspen Developers, Corp., which is based in Truckee and Reno.

But district officials found the company did not properly register the work with the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Minority Business Development Agency as required by the no-interest loan from the state of California that will be paying for the work.

Representatives from the company called it a minor irregularity and said the district could award the bid. They argued problems with the MBDA website kept them from registering the project and said they also registered it with the Nevada Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which is affiliated with the SBA.

Those arguments did not sway South Tahoe Public Utility District’s board of directors. The board voted Wednesday to award a $3.172 million contract to Vinciguerra Construction, which is based in Jackson, Calif., and submitted the second lowest bid.

Board members lamented the extra cost for the project. It will install about 1,500 residential water meters in the Upper Truckee Corridor, Angora Highlands and Tata Lane areas. But they also did not want to run afoul of state or federal lending agencies and risk losing access to such money.

“I detest we have to pay more, however, the requirements set forth are clear,” board member Chris Cefalu said.

About $440,000 of related meter and material purchases make the project’s total cost about $3.6 million, said Paul Sciuto, assistant general manager for South Tahoe Public Utility District.

The utility district is mandated by the state of California to have a fully-metered water system by 2025. The district will accept another no-interest loan for $21.5 million to install the last 8,300 residential water meters needed if the board of directors in June approves a five-year string of water rate increases.

Those proposed rate increases, as well as five years of proposed sewer rate increases, are presently before the district’s customers. They can protest them by filling out Proposition 218 forms the district has mailed out.

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