Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
FKAA formally rejects protest by two companies

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority has rejected two proposals from construction contracting firms asking the agency to re-award millions of dollars in contracts to their companies.

Last month, GlobeTec and Douglas N. Higgins Inc., came in second place in the rankings to work on the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment System. Both then filed formal protests against the awarding of the contracts to Giannetti Contracting Corp. and Layne Heavy Civil Inc.

Under Aqueduct Authority rules, companies are allowed to protest bid awards and plead their cases to Aqueduct Authority Executive Kirk Zuelch.

On Tuesday, Zuelch formally rejected GlobeTec and Higgins protests. The two companies have exhausted their avenues with the Aqueduct Authority and would have to sue the agency in court if they want to pursue the issue further, Zuelch said.

"I think the bids we initially received were the lowest and met all the requirements of the proposal," Zuelch said.

Giannetti had worked with the Aqueduct Authority on the Big Coppitt Key sewer project, and Layne Heavy is currently working with the city of Islamorada on its sewer system upgrades.

On Dec. 19, the Aqueduct Authority board unanimously agreed to award a $35 million contract to Giannetti Contracting to build the wastewater collection system for the inner areas of the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Regional System.

The board also approved a $79.8 million contract with Layne Heavy Civil to build another collection system to serve the outer areas of the Cudjoe Regional System.

The rejection of the bids will come as welcome news to the Monroe County Commission, as county officials were concerned the two companies protesting the awarded bids could jeopardize $30 million in state funding.

The county received the $30 million last year from the state Legislature, but under the terms that construction contracts for the treatment system must be signed by March 1. The county, which fought hard for the state funding, is concerned that the signing of the contracts could be held up with the two formal protests filed and the state will take back the money.

The County Commission is scheduled to discuss the issue when it meets today in Key West. The Cudjoe Regional is the largest sewer project in the Keys to date and the last one in unincorporated Monroe County.

tohara@keysnews.com

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