Sewer contracts awarded

The New Springfield contractor won one and lost one in the sewer squabble.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A New Springfield contractor got a split decision Thursday from Mahoning County commissioners.
A. David Sugar is president of both Excavation Technologies Inc. and Honey Creek Contracting, each of which had submitted an apparent low bid for separate county sewer projects.
Despite an Ohio law requiring government bodies to accept the lowest bid for public projects unless there is a valid reason not to, Sanitary Engineer Joseph Warino had recommended that commissioners reject Sugar's bids and award contracts to the next-lowest bidders.
Warino said ETI has no experience with such projects and that Honey Creek has a history of falling behind.
Who got contracts: By a 2-1 vote, commissioners agreed to award a contract for a sewage collection system in Damascus to ETI, which bid $367,000. Commissioner Vicki Allen Sherlock cast the lone dissenting vote.
Conti Corp. of Lowellville was hired to build a treatment plant for the Damascus sewer system at a cost of $1.1 million. ETI did not bid on the treatment plant.
Honey Creek had submitted the low bid to build a sewer collection system along Woodworth Road in Beaver and Springfield townships, but commissioners opted to award contracts to J.S. Paris Excavating of North Jackson and Marucci & amp; Gaffney of Youngstown.
Commissioners said they felt justified in scrapping Honey Creek's bid because the company has a track record of finishing projects behind schedule.
Reason behind vote: Sherlock said ETI is essentially the same company as Honey Creek, which is why she voted against ETI for the Damascus project.
At a hearing before commissioners last week, Sugar said he uses the same equipment and personnel for both companies.
"They are one and the same," Sherlock said. "And with their poor track record, I certainly could not go along with them."
Commissioners Ed Reese and David Ludt said they voted for ETI because it is technically a separate company from Honey Creek and they did not feel comfortable holding it accountable for the county's problems with Honey Creek.
"I did not feel comfortable that we had a strong enough case there if that went to litigation," Reese said.
Was considering suing: Sugar had threatened to sue if he got shut out of the projects. He did not attend the meeting and said afterward that he'll consult his attorney before making a decision on litigation.
Reese said another reason he supported ETI was that its bid was about $74,000 lower than the closest bidder. There was only a $14,000 difference between Honey Creek and the other bidders for the Woodworth Road project.
He also said ETI proved that it had secured a performance bond for the Damascus project, which tells him the company is reputable.

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