MADISON — An Omaha company that had a lower bid on asphalt than the bidder that was selected by Madison County has asked to have its bid reconsidered.
Flint Hills Resources of Omaha had submitted the low bid but did not comply with the bid specifications, so its bid was rejected.
On May 7, the county awarded the contract for asphalt to Jebro of Sioux City.
Lindsey Kuzma of Flint Hills Resources told the county board Tuesday that it did not comply with the bidding specs as requested because they were different from standards that other counties have.
Kuzma also said she was present when the bids were opened to see if the county had any questions, and it didn’t. Kuzma said she acknowledges the company changed the date from the specifications given by the county.
“We typically see very little demand for emulsions after Sept. 30,” she said. “The reason we see that is because typically by that time, the weather has changed and can compromise the performance of the products.”
The county had sought to have asphalt product available during October and November in the bid specs.
Kuzma said her company would consider shipping product during those dates, provided the county knows there are risks with applying it.
Dick Johnson, Madison County roads superintendent, said that years ago, the county had all its bids for asphalt to coincide with the fiscal year — June 30 to July 1.
Then the oil companies told the county because of the volatility of oil prices, it would prefer to keep the prices good only through the construction season, he said.
Oil is a major component of asphalt. In order to keep all companies bidding, Johnson said, Madison County decided to cut the timeline until Dec. 1 — not the whole fiscal year of June 30 of the following year.
There have been some warm Octobers and Novembers when Madison County and other counties have applied asphalt after Sept. 30.
Jerry McCallum, a commissioner, said the specifications were the same for everyone — through Dec. 1. If the company is changing the specs, it needs to alert the county before bids are opened, he said.
Kuzma said her company did what it does for other counties.
“Sept. 30 is standard across multiple agencies and states,” Kuzma said.
McCallum said the county typically looks at all bids and specs, and if specs aren’t met, the reasons should be given prior to opening the bids.
“If the shoe was on the other foot, what would you do?” McCallum asked Kuzma.
“I wouldn’t shoot emulsion after Sept. 30,” Kuzma said.
“Well, we might,” McCallum said, depending on weather conditions.
Lee Klein, county board chairman, said the county will consider next year changing its bid specifications to make them more in line with other counties. The commissioners took no action on the Omaha company’s request for reconsideration.