County Defends Awarding Contract To Highest Bidder

Commissioners Agree To Pay $295,555 More Than Lowest Bidder

In an unusual move, Johnston County Commissioners awarded a contract to the highest bidder.  Commissioners agreed to a spend $1,184,385 with CITI, LLC to install a fiber optic cable network, control room equipment, hardware and software at the Highway 210 Wastewater Treatment Plant.   The plant will be built next to the Johnston County Landfill on County Home Road.

Two other companies had submitted lower bids, including Custom Controls Unlimited Inc. which submitted the lowest bid of $888,830, or $295,555 less that CITI.

Chandra Farmer, Director of Johnston County Public Utilities, asked commissioners to award the bid to CITI, the highest bidder, stating among other reasons that they had more experience.  The contract cost was the lowest determining factor in evaluating the three companies, according to public documents.

“The systems integrator selection for the Johnston County 210 Wastewater Treatment Facilities project was based on an evaluation process that included project performance and firm experience; personnel qualifications and experience; service availability; and contract cost.  The selected contractor has the most experience for wastewater treatment plant control systems with the necessary graphical interface, sophisticated control strategies and specified software,” Farmer said in an email.

State law requires government agencies to award a contract to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder but can also take into consideration quality and performance in selecting another bidder.

Construction on the new 4 million gallon per day treatment plant will begin later this year with completion in 2022.