Mason City council delays public hearing on second bid package for arena

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City last night approved the rescheduling of a public hearing and the bid deadline for the second bid package for the multi-purpose arena that’s part of the River City Renaissance project.

City Administrator Aaron Burnett says it was difficult for the city to get some exact figures for the contractors wanting to potentially bid on this part of the project, which includes the structural steel, concrete foundation and ice plant components of the center.  “Obviously we don’t want to lose any time, this project is trying to move forward as quickly as possible, but at the same time, you really want to make sure you are getting the best bids possible, that contractors have the appropriate amount of time to get that information together and get it back. I know that’s a criticism we actually had on bid package #1 was that it was too rushed to get the information together.”

Burnett says the second bid package is more complex compared to the first, and they wanted to make sure all the information was gathered for the bidding process. “Bid package two has all sorts of complex things that you have to go out and get subcontractors, get those numbers, figure out how long the lead time on those materials, who is going to be putting it in, just a lot of moving pieces there. It wasn’t coming together in the time frame that we originally allowed, so with that in mind we had to push it back.”

Concerns have been raised by some people that the city is not following the proper procedures in the public posting of bid packages for the project. Burnett says that he and city staff continue to work with the city’s legal staff to make sure all the proper legal notices about the project are being done. “We definitely put those questions past the attorney. If there’s no violation, we move forward. If we do feel that there’s a situation where we’re not complying with state law, then obviously we would correct that at that point. But in this situation, the concerns that have been brought forward, we feel we are in complete compliance. We try to go above and beyond. The state code has three specific requirements of where you have to post those notice to bidders. We sought to put those out to 14 different places. I think that the accusation that we’re trying to skirt state laws…I find that that’s not true.”

Bids for the second package are due today. The council will hold a public hearing and consider awarding a contract for the second bid package at their February 19th meeting.

Burnett made his comments on today’s edition of the “Ask the Mayor” program on AM-1300 KGLO. Listen back to the program via the audio player below