New appeal filed over timber bid

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2002

Legal wrangling over the Kenai Peninsula Borough's intention to rebid the 1,026.8-acre Stariski Timber Sale continued last week when the company originally awarded the logging contract back in April filed an appeal of that decision.

ArcTech Services Inc. of Kenai will get a hearing at a special meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on July 9 at 9 a.m.

The issues surround sale of beetle-killed timber in the Stariski area, timber being disposed of through the borough's Spruce Bark Beetle Mitigation Program.

Several logging companies submitted sale bids March 20, including ArcTech, which delivered its bid to the borough finance office at the Borough Building on North Binkley Street, offering $3.87 per ton.

Though the company was the apparent winner, a competitor cried foul.

Believing all bids had to be delivered on time to the bark beetle office on the Kenai Spur Highway, not the finance office at the Borough Building, Gates Construction Inc. of Kasilof argued that ArcTech should not be awarded the contract because it had failed to meet the bid requirements.

An investigation showed there had been some confusion over where bids would be accepted. According to borough Mayor Dale Bagley, several days before the March 20 bid date, bark beetle personnel discovered that the borough's Web page and some of the printed invitations for bids required bid forms to be submitted at the finance office.

At that point, bark beetle personnel asked the finance department to accept any bids delivered there. Under those criteria, both ArcTech and Gates submitted timely bids, according to the borough.

Bagley declared ArcTech the bid winner on April 8 and authorized the bark beetle office to execute a contract. Gates filed an appeal with the assembly, which held a hearing May 8.

Following testimony, the assembly passed a motion to remand the Stariski Timber Sale back to the mayor, recommending that the sale be rebid, judging that the borough had been party to the advertising confusion and bidders had not been made aware of all bid-submittal locations.

ArcTech sent a letter May 10 objecting to the procedures of the May 8 hearing and to the final decision, and indicating it would appeal any decision based on the assembly's recommendation to rebid.

Nevertheless, on May 20, Bagley notified the assembly the Stariski sale would be rebid.

That led to this latest appeal by ArcTech and the meeting now scheduled for July 9.

Assembly members said they wanted any further hearings beyond the July 9 meeting and any decision that is reached to be handled in Alaska Superior Court. According to borough attorney Colette Thompson, she will seek ArcTech's and Gates' agreement on that.

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