After more than 90 minutes of debate Monday night, the Roswell City Council voted 5-1 to accept a high bid of $2.9 million for installation of synthetic turf at seven sports fields in three city parks.
It was a contentious issue, generating almost an hour of public comment from residents who questioned the city’s process in awarding the work.
Council member Betty Price, the lone dissenter, said she was uncomfortable with the awarding process, including a change in terms. She said the eventual contract winner was allowed to change its bid, lowering it by more than $200,000 when the city permitted it to offer a lower quality material.
Finance director Keith Lee told council members that the staff committee that reviewed proposals determined Medallion Athletics of Mooresville, N.C., could provide the best product and service under the guidelines of the project. Medallion’s final bid was nearly $400,000 more than the next highest proposal.
“The committee is comfortable that through the oral presentation phase, Medallion had the best understanding of the existing conditions, a superior product and would present the greatest opportunity for success,” he said.
Lee added that the committee used the city’s purchasing manual, which weighs price at 20 percent and technical factors at 80 percent when considering proposals for design-build projects.
Medallion representatives were also on hand, arguing that the Roswell project calls for a specialized contractor who is able to oversee construction from start to finish.
Representatives from Sprinturf, the low bidder on the project, asked council members to rebid the work. Executive Vice President John Bogosian said the company bids on some 400 projects annually.
“We have never seen a project of this scope evaluated without an expert, such as an architect, especially when staff has never evaluated an artificial turf project,” Bogosian said.
Several residents also spoke out against the award.
“If this council is to be known as anything other than a rubber stamp, then it’s time to hold city Administrator Kay Love and her staff accountable for bringing fiscally bloated and half-baked proposals before this city council,” resident Jake Lilley said.