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Stene: Kona sewer upgrade in limbo as bid process fails to secure contractor twice

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By Aaron Stene | Special to Hawaii 24/7

I don’t live in the Lono Kona subdivision slated for a sewer connection upgrade, but I’ve followed the bidding process for this project. The January 29th, 2018 bid opening had four contractors submit bids; Isemoto Contracting was lowest at $7,728,427.25, and Goodfellow Brothers was highest at $10,726,943.25.

The January 29th, 2018 bids were subsequently discarded because they exceeded the funding available, and the 10% overage threshold ($4,024,800 USDA RUS grant, $2,437,000 in USDA RUS loans). It was decided to rebid the project with the hope the bids would come in lower. That didn’t happen when the revised bids were opened on March 29th, 2018.

There were only two contractors that decided to bid on this project on the second go around. Nan Inc was the lowest bidder at $8,522,630.43, and Jas Glover was the highest bidder at $9,579,700.00 Nan’s low bid is $ 794,203.18 higher than Isemoto’s low bid on January 29th, 2018.

Its also $1,414,650.43 more than the funding available + 10% overage. Isemoto Contracting’s bid was only $620,447.25 higher than the latter. It would’ve made much more sense to seek additional USDA grant funding to cover Isemoto’s low bid instead of discarding all the bids and starting from scratch. As it stands now, the project’s future is now in a much more precarious position than where it was in January.

The residents of Lono Kona subdivision, and Hawaii County taxpayers, deserve better.

Aaron Stene

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