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Siesta Key Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 5 years ago

County's ad fails to attract bidders

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Three contractors downloaded plans Sarasota County sent to more than 300 firms.

But none of the three submitted a quote to manufacture and install 14 LED bollards on Siesta Key Village crosswalks.

The lack of interested contractors means another delay in the year-long effort by the Siesta Key Village Association to improve crosswalk lighting in the commercial district.

County mobility and purchasing staff Jan. 14 drafted a memo to County Commissioners to ask for direction on how to proceed with the project, according to county mobility staff member Ryan Montague.

County staff members were scheduled to appear in front of the County Commission Jan. 29, to ask for a contract approval for the firm chosen through the “invitation for quotes” procurement process.

“I know it’s a time-sensitive project, on the other hand, commissioners want to keep it as competitive as possible,” Montague said.

In the solicitation for quotes, county staff bundled the project so the manufacturer would also have to perform installation, which at least one firm said was restrictive. Other firms said the county’s $50,000 estimate limit was too low, Montague explained.

Commissioners will consider an option to extend the submittal date and also look into accepting a quote that came in after the deadline.

Another alternative would be to raise the limit on accepted quotes and re-advertise the solicitation.

That would push the project into the threshold for formal bid solicitations. The purchasing department is confined to local businesses for the invitation for quotes, which doesn’t apply to formal solicitations, according to the county procurement manual.

County staff and members of SKVA oversaw streetside vendor demonstrations of products last fall and in September settled on specifications that would create the most crosswalk visibility. The plan calls for concrete, rectangular bollards to house 14- to 18-watt LED bulbs.

A staff analysis of Americans With Disabilities Act requirements delayed the first informal solicitation to a Dec. 7 advertisement, because the bollards sit near sidewalk ramps.

“I think we did a good job with the original solicitation,” Montague said.

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