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Low Bid for Senior Center Expansion Rejected

Township officials said the bid from Sidd & Associates contained several deficiencies including a lack of information about equipment they own or lease.

The South Brunswick Township Council voted Tuesday evening to reject the lowest bid for the expansion to the senior center after finding several deficiencies with the company's bid.

In total, the township received 21 bids for the project. The low bid of $1.9 million from Sidd & Associates LLC, of Millstone, was rejected after the company failed to meet several of the bid specifications, according to Township Attorney Don Sears. The contract for the renovations was then awarded to Tekton Development, who was the second lowest bidder at $2.06 million.

Amongst the deficiencies in the bid from Sidd & Associates was a failure to meet the specifications for financial disclosure, a lack of financial information forms, no information on equipment the company has owned or leased, and no past projects listed under Sidd & Associates.

Sidd & Associates did list past projects under a different company based out of Staten Island, N.Y. called Meiko Electric, but Sidd's liabilities would not fall under that company.

"Even though they can tell us the other company is the same, if we have trouble and end up in court the lawyer would tell us 'no, it's not the same,'" said Deputy Mayor Chris Killmurray. "(Rejecting the bid) is by the book and on solid legal grounds."

Sears said Sidd & Associates had obtained its business registration certificate only a few weeks before it submitted the bid for the improvements to the South Brunswick Senior Center.

He added that notice of the public hearing for the rejection of the bid was sent to Sidd & Associates at their address in Millstone, but the notice was returned saying there was no one at that address. The notice was then hand delivered to a company representative at the Municipal Building, according to Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz.

The bid called for the contract to be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder, and ultimately the council ruled that Sidd & Associates was an unresponsive bidder. No one from the company attended the public hearing to speak on their behalf.

 approved an ordinance appropriating $2.9 million for both the expansion to the center and for lights to be installed on the softball fields at . Both projects are funded by the township's Open Space Trust Fund, with Middlesex County providing a 50 percent match from county open space funds.

The expansion plan calls for about 5,000-square feet to be added near the rear entrance of the existing auditorium at the Senior Center. Director of the Office on Aging Christine Wildemuth said the expansion includes a small room for low impact exercise equipment that allows members to work out, in addition to exam rooms. The wellness center will also host physical fitness activities, health and wellness lectures, and doctor screenings.

South Brunswick's  since 2000, according to the 2010 census. Of the nearly 44,000 people living in South Brunswick, about 22 percent are between the ages of 45 and 64-years-old, and about 7 percent are over the age of 65.

"Seniors are a huge segment of our population. 200 people visit the senior center everyday and it's something that continues to grow," said Councilman Joseph Camarota. "We hope to be breaking ground (on the expansion) very soon."

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