Bauer Foundation Corp. has won $100 million contracts to build dams and dikes in Florida and other states, but when it came to bidding for a reservoir project in their home county, corporate leaders say they were excluded.
The snub was serious enough to keep commissioners Kathryn Starkey and Jack Mariano from voting to award a $31 million contract to build the county’s new reclaimed water reservoir on Overpass Road. The board still approved the contract with a North Carolina-based company, Thalle Construction, by a 3-2 vote.
“We just felt that with us being in the backyard here in the county, and employing people here locally, we should have been given a fair shake to bid on this,” said Bryan Kamm, Bauer’s director of government relations.
Bauer Foundation, the U.S. subsidiary of Germany’s BAUER Group, has its corporate headquarters in Odessa. The BAUER Group is an international foundation contractor, designer and builder of foundation equipment. Kamm said the company employs about 80 people in Odessa and 200 in Florida.
The Pasco contract is for a 500-million-gallon reservoir designed to contain reclaimed water produced by the adjacent wastewater treatment plant. Utilities Director Bruce Kennedy said the project has been in the works since 2006 and the bidding process has taken more than two years.
Kamm said Bauer uses a different method than the one specified in the bid documents, but both are standard in the industry.
County Administrator John Gallagher took exception to Bauer’s complaint.
“We have been going through this process for two years,” he said. “We advertised the living daylights out of what we were doing. At the last minute, someone comes in and rings the bell and yells foul.”
Thalle Construction was one of three qualified bidders for the contract.
In other business, commissioners voted to allocate $600,000 for the Metropolitan Ministries Transitional Housing Project in Holiday. The 24-unit project, to provide short-term housing for families with children, was slated to receive $1.3 million from the state of Florida. But Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the funding Monday.
“That doesn’t diminish the fact that they still need additional funding,” Community Development Manager George Romagnoli said. “We’re not going to contribute all the money, but we still think this is a vital project for the county.”