JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County is considering accepting the second-lowest cost proposal for landfill water quality testing - $20,000 more than the lowest proposal -because the company offering the lowest bid had trouble with the state.
The Board of Supervisors' Economic Development and Environment Committee and Finance Committee last week both separately recommended Test America of Amherst, Erie County, be awarded a $72,534 three-year contract, for 2013-15, to do water quality testing at the county sanitary landfill.
The full board will consider final approval Tuesday.
The county solicited requests for proposals, or RFPs for the work, and Test America had the second lowest proposal of three received.
County Department of Solid Waste Director Jeff Bouchard noted the county on Oct. 24 received these proposals: Upstate Labs of East Syracuse - $52,836; Test America - $72,534; and Columbia Analytical Services of Rochester - $101,897.
Board Chairman Michael F. Gendron noted the roughly $20,000 disparity between the lowest and second lowest proposals.
"That's a substantial difference," he said.
Bouchard said the landfill's engineering firm - Barton & Loguidice of Albany - reviewed the proposals and recommended Test America because it offered the best one in meeting specifications.
He said he also recommends that firm.
Bouchard added that Upstate Labs has had difficulties complying with maintaining its state-required certification.
He said that firm had certification, lost it, and now partially has it back. He also said the landfill water quality contract is important.
"They test all the wells around the landfill," he said. "We want to make sure that criteria is done properly."
The county doesn't have to take the lowest RFP, like the normal bidding process, but rather it can select the most "responsible" bidder, officials said.
Bouchard said the new pricing is in line with the present three-year contract, which totals $75,465.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org