Lawsuit challenges new contract for town's yard waste center
Published 4:09 pm, Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The owner of a Stratford-based business is suing the town because it was passed over for the contract to operate the town's yard waste center on One Rod Highway, even though its bid was the lowest.
Good Earth Tree Care Inc. is seeking a temporary injunction in Bridgeport Superior Court to block the awarding of the bid.
In an affadavit, Good Earth owner Jon Damon said the town failed to comply with its own bidding requirements and town charter when the bid was not awarded to Good Earth, and the town "did not proffer any legitimate or cogent reasons for why" the bid was rejected.
The latest contract instead was awarded to GreenCycle, which has been operating the yard waste facility since 2007.
The annual cost to the town under the GreenCycle bid is $49,500, compared to Good Earth's bid of $48,000. There was a third bid, submitted by Ground Products Management, of $157,500.
In a letter to First Selectman Michael Tetreau, purchasing agent Twig Holland said the contract must be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder and, for several reasons, the selection team did not feel Good Earth was qualified.
"The evaluation of the experience and qualifications submitted by Good Earth shows that this firm's experience is not similar to that required by the contract," Holland wrote, adding that aside from "very limited" residential delivery of materials, "Good Earth has absolutely no experience with the management and operation of this type of facility or function."
She said Good Earth's only experience consists of hauling materials off-site, and that the business appears to have no experience that involves processing materials on site, product sales, product given at no cost to residents or for town operations, bio-solids composting with a partner, running a scale operation or the provision of woodchips for the wastewater treatment plant.
According to Holland, while Good Earth's bid was $1,500 less per year and $1 more for the sale of bio-solids, she said the $6,500 a year difference this amounts to is "not commensurate with the inexperience of Good Earth."
In addition, Good Earth said any additional expenses related to storm clean-ups would put the town at risk for an "unknown, undisclosed and uncontrollable additional cost."
In contrast, GreenCycle had previously absorbed $35,000 in additional operating costs related to Tropical Storm Irene last year and stated that the same policy would continue in regard to future storm clean-ups.
In his suit, filed Aug. 1,
Damon claims Good Earth was the lowest qualified bidder and "had the capacity and capability to operate the facility in conformance with the specifications for quality, quantity, service and delivery that were contained in the bid at the lowest cost to the town."
Holland also said Damon's premise that, as a Fairfield resident, he is entitled to preference in bid awards is not true.
"The town's bidding requirements have no preference for local suppliers/contractors; therefore, a bidder's residence plays no role in the award of bids," she wrote.
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