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Township Aims to Curtail Irresponsible Contractors

South Brunswick to revise guidelines for contractors bidding on municipal projects.

South Brunswick Township is planning an overhaul on guidelines for contractors bidding on municipal projects.

During a discussion at last week's meeting, Township Council members discussed an ordinance that focused on the importance of having responsible employees working for any company bidding on a public contract.

"If we have a low bidder bringing people on the site who are not qualified to do the job, then that creates problems for residents and the entire township," said Mayor Frank Gambatese. 

Public Affairs Coordinator Ron Schmalz said the ordiance would provide an added layer of protection for the township on large construction projects.

"The purpose of this is to select responsible contractors for significant public contacts to protect the township," he said. "Other municipalities are doing this to protect themselves with the bidding process."

While not in direct response to any particular contractor, concerns were raised last year about contractor responsibility during the bidding process on the South Brunswick Senior Center expansion in September, 2012.

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.

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.

With the new ordinance, the township would avoid potential liability on low bids by requiring contractors to make sure they have competent employees working on any project.

"This makes a whole lot of sense to me," said Councilman Joseph Camarota at last week's meeting. "This helps us and the township weed out contractors that don't deserve to be awarded a bid."

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