Buda reopens bids for City Park project

A lack of options is forcing Buda to re-bid its City Park renovation, which in turn could push the start date of construction on the bond project further back.

With a 7-0 vote to reject bids that were previously submitted, the Buda City Council hopes giving developers a full month to craft a proposal, as well as attracting more applicants, can draw more attention to the multimillion dollar improvement.

Greg Olmer, Buda Parks and Recreations director, said Buda received one “non-qualifying” request for proposal (RFP) for its City Park project, which is part of Proposition 5 of the 2014 bond. Buda had called out for RFPs in mid-July and offered a two-week window for submissions, which were due Aug. 7.

The lone bid met the city’s base estimate of $3.95 million to construct the City Park project, along with inclusion of additional alternates that increased the price to $4.79 million. Buda’s City Park renovation includes the addition of a 20,000 seat amphitheater.

Olmer said inclusion of all parts of the City Park project would result in a roughly $649,000 overrun in the $8 million Proposition 5 budget, minus the addition of any contingencies.

But the lone bid had “inconsistencies” such as missing pages and signatures across the four copies submitted.

City officials also approached three other groups who attended a pre-bid walkthrough, but did not submit an RFP. Olmer said part of the problem was the inability of companies to meet the two-week deadline and to put an adequate bid proposal together in that timeframe.

“Others had sub-contractors that didn’t get information to general contractors in time, so they missed that two week timeframe to meet the Aug. 7 deadline,” Olmer said.

Olmer added that Design Workshop, which is the consulting company on the City Park project, was “concerned” on the lack of bids.

“We can’t compare apples to apples,” Olmer said. “If we don’t have multiple competitive bids, then we can’t see someone else’s numbers versus another.”

The majority of city leaders believed more time was needed to secure an adequate bid.

Lee Urbanovsky, Buda City Council Place 1, said his inclination to re-bid was based on the amount Buda eyed for the project becoming public, which was “the kicker.”

“The number is out there of what someone thinks it’s worth,” Urbanovsky said. He also suggested the city to use different avenues to reach out to possible developers.

Place 3 Councilmember David Nuckels said that, due to the size of the project, the city “should have gone a little longer” with its RFP timeframe. Nuckels believed expanding the search to larger cities and metroplexes could help.

Evan Ture, Place 6 councilmember, said it was a bummer to push back the schedule, especially when the city looks to do “better on the timing of our projects.”

By offering a month’s time for an RFP, the Buda City Council could take up approval of possible bids by October, which could then be follwed by more negotiation. Construction on City Park is expected to take anywhere from 10 to 12 months.

“It would be an even bigger issue if we took a single bid, especially an unqualified one,” Ture said.

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