Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Low bid on Hernando landfill was goof; bidder wants out

BROOKSVILLE — The low bid for expanding the Hernando County landfill seemed too good to be true. Turns out, it was.

Back in late July, county utilities director Joe Stapf was thrilled that none of the eight companies that bid to build a new cell at the landfill came anywhere near the $9.35 million estimated project cost.

The low bidder was Southeast Environmental Contracting, which submitted a base bid of $5.5 million.

The utilities staff investigated the low bidders to make sure they met the specifications for the project and that they had the qualifications to do the job. During that process, they asked why the company had left nearly $700,000 "on the table'' by underbidding the second low bidder by that amount.

The Southeast president then looked again at his company's bid and discovered that an employee had miscalculated the amount of excavation work needed at the site. That meant that the bid was off by nearly $500,000.

The president told Hernando staff that he would lose money on the job if his company's bid were accepted, and that he would prefer the county move to the second low bidder.

But that is not the plan, according to Stapf and county purchasing director Jim Gantt.

Gantt said the county couldn't ethically renegotiate with the company. Stapf said the county can't let the company drop out of bidding because that impacts the integrity of the bidding process.

County officials don't want to delay the expansion because the existing landfill cell is nearing its capacity. Trucking loads of its residential garbage outside of the county will cost Hernando tens of thousands of dollars.

Stapf and Gantt are considering whether to go ahead and recommend Southeast to the County Commission as the low bidder. If they do that, the company either can try to do the project for the bid amount or simply not do the work.

In that case, the company would be in default on its bid, and the county could take action against the bid bond of Southeast Environmental Contracting.

Hernando then could choose the second lowest bidder, T & K Construction, which bid $6.2 million, and seek to make up some of the cost difference through Southeast's bid bond.

That could return $274,412 to the county, according to Stapf's Wednesday memo to county administration and commissioners. "It is perhaps worth noting that the second low bid amount for the base bid is still well under our engineer's estimate,'' he wrote.

He also noted that the investigation into the bidders was not yet complete and additional revisions might still be necessary before the bid is brought to the commission.

That bid award could come as early at Aug. 25.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Low bid on Hernando landfill was goof; bidder wants out 08/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays


    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    And so is Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

    And they are scheduled to meet with the media.

    But before you get excited - or riled up - know it's not to make any big announcement on the stadium or the overall future …

  2. Bucs running back's gamble pays off for his mom


    TAMPA — When Peyton Barber decided to leave Auburn after his sophomore year, with only one season as a starting running back, it was a risky decision, one he hoped would let him help out his family back home in suburban Atlanta.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber (43) takes the field with an American flag before a preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Officials say Trump's Afghan plan involves 3,900 more troops


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's plan to end the stalemate in America's longest war and eliminate Afghanistan's rising extremist threat involves sending up to 3,900 additional U.S. forces, senior officials said Tuesday. The first deployments could take place within days.

    President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Myer in Arlington Va., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan. [Associated Press]
  4. 'Cavern' closes westbound lanes on E Fletcher Avenue in Hillsborough County


    Westbound lanes of E Fletcher Avenue are closed near the Hillsborough River to repair what the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office terms a "cavern" that formed under the roadway.

  5. Joss Whedon's ex-wife accuses him of cheating, being 'hypocrite preaching feminist ideals'


    Joss Whedon made his name directing cult television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and big-budget action movies, which often featured women in empowering roles. Many applauded him for being a champion of women, a feminist in an industry accused of misogyny and sexism.

    Joss Whedon at the screening of "Much Ado About Nothing" in 2014. Whedon's ex-wife Kai Cole alleged in an essay published by The Wrap on Sunday that Whedon had multiple affairs during their 16-year marriage. (Associated Press)