The City is looking to change the tendering process
City officials, anticipating more major construction projects to come through the pipeline in the near future, will go to voters in November to try to update Gilroy’s bidding procedures.
On June 20, the city council unanimously agreed to put a charter amendment on the ballot, which officials say will modernize and speed up the bidding process for construction if it is approved.
A section of the city charter that was passed in 1960 requires the city to officially bid on a public project that exceeds $35,000. The city is then required to announce the project to construction bidders in a newspaper.
“The language is old and inefficient, and not consistent with how things are done in other cities at this point,” City Administrator Jimmy Forbis said. “Project costs have risen sharply since the amounts established in the charter in the 1960s.”
Forbis said the amendment, if approved by voters, would eliminate the $35,000 cap and instead follow the threshold set by the California Public Contract Code, which is $200,000.
It would also remove the requirement to advertise in newspapers and allow bids to be posted through other means, such as on the city’s website or by contacting a list of qualified contractors.
Forbis noted that the city could still advertise with the Gilroy Dispatch, but was not required to advertise only with the local newspaper, adding that in the past most responses have come from the list. contractors.
The amendment would also allow for a form of “design-build” contract, where the city would only have to bid on a project with a contractor. This contractor, in turn, would then form a team that would include a designer.
Currently, the charter requires the city to bid the project separately to a designer and a builder, which adds additional time and complexities, according to Forbis.
He cited as an example the Seventh and Eigleberry Street parking lot that is currently under construction, where the city had budgeted for $1.5 million in early 2020, but the actual approved bid soared to $2.3 million.
“As we find in many larger projects we do, time is money,” Forbis said. “The longer it takes us to complete projects, the more it costs.”
The “design-build” contract would also benefit the proposed ice rink at Gilroy Sports Park, according to Forbis. The board unanimously agreed a term sheet with Sharks Sports & Entertainment later at the June 20 meeting.