Bid battle could make lawyers flush
It’s only half jokingly that we suggest county commissioners reject all bids for the North Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.
We realize the struggle accompanying the effort to bid out the project, which is running around $12 million so far. The original cost estimate was $7.5 million.
County officials have on more than one occasion raised the construction activity in Storey County’s Tahoe Regional Industrial Center as one reason for cost overruns.
But it seems we’ve got people competing for this business.
There were five bids for the project, and the two top bidders are at each other’s throats, to the point they’re bringing their complaint to commissioners on Thursday.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility to imagine that whomever loses out in the bid will race over to Douglas County District Court to file a challenge.
That challenge could very well include an injunction delaying work on the plant for God knows how long.
Rejecting all the bids and forcing competitors to sharpen their pencils a tad might actually be the quickest way to get work started on the project. It might also save the county a little money.
We know that there are around a thousand Johnson Lane septic owners who aren’t in any hurry to see the plant expanded.
The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection could order those residents with septic tanks to shift to sewer at some point. A U.S. Geological Survey study of the area anticipated residents would be off septic tanks entirely by 2035, which isn’t all that far away.
We expect that commissioners will make a choice on Thursday. We just hope that it doesn’t lead us down a litigious rabbit hole that ends up with the North Valley plant costing more than it does now.