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Commissioners OK Reese bid for jail, say it's the lowest

PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (March 5, 2019) — Rejecting a claim made Monday by a representative of Bales Construction that Reese Construction isn't the lowest bidder for a jail construction project expected to run about $14 million, commissioners in special session Tuesday voted unanimously to award a $14.05 million jail construction bid to Reese. Groundbreaking is scheduled for Friday, March 22.

At Monday's regular meeting, Ladon Curran of Bales Construction said a bid calculation error shows that Reese was not the lowest bidder and a multiprime bid came in several hundred thousand dollars lower.

Commissioners began with a closed session with Jail Study Committee Chairman Zach Shepherd, Sheriff Jimmy Bench, and others present. After about 10 minutes of closed session, the commissioners returned to open session and approved the Reese bid.

The commissioners and jail study committee chairman aren't happy about allegations that they didn't give the bid to the lowest bidder.

"I don't like people going around saying I'm crooked," Shepherd said.

"It's ironic that six weeks after the fact he comes back and says we're cheats," said Western District Commissioner Ricky Zweerink. "We got a jail started, finally."

Eastern Disrict Commissioner Lynn Sharp said he's grateful for the work of the jail study committee.

"They took a lot of grief they didn't have to," Sharp said.

The commissioners have approved the following press release regarding the jail construction process:

"The Pulaski County Commission is aware of the allegations raised by Bales Construction, approximately six weeks after the bids were open and made public, that it did not accept the lowest bid for construction of the Pulaski County Jail and Sheriff's Department. The Commission reviewed the bids once again after this allegation was raised, and believes that the figures cited by Bales Construction are not accurate and did not include certain items. The Commission is satisfied that [it] accepted a qualified bid that was both the lowest and best bid for the construction of the Pulaski County Jail and Sheriff's Department. The Commission looks forward to working with Reese Equipment Company as it begins construction on this much needed project that will improve public safety in Pulaski County."

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