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NEWS BRIEFS Swimmers and a paddleboarder enjoy the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters at Siesta Public Beach. Photo by Rachel Hackney SIESTA BEACH STORMWATER PROJECT BID RECOMMENDED The Sarasota County Procurement Department on March 4 issued a notice of a recommended bid for the stormwater project at Siesta Public Beach. timate for what the memo called "the most challenging portion of the pipeline" that will take treated stormwater into the Gulf of Mexico. While Erickson Consulting Engineers, which worked on that aspect of the project, Forsberg Construction Inc. of Punta Gorda had put the cost at $681,475, the memo said, was determined to have provided "the lowest the corresponding portion of the lowest bid responsive and responsible bid," according was $2,291,200. to the notice. The company put in a bid of $4,286,083.28 as the base price, with an extra The memo pointed out that this project "is the $264,600 for alternate work proposed for the first in Florida" of its kind. project, for a total of $4,550,683.28. The Forsberg bid was the second lowest of the three submitted, according to the ProAn analyst in the Procurement Department curement notice. Gibbs & Register Inc. of told The Sarasota News Leader he believed Winter Garden submitted the lowest bid: the bid recommendation would come before $4,550,683.28, including the alternate work, the Sarasota County Commission on April 23. the notice says. However, Procurement staff Only three bids were submitted for the proj- found the company could not meet all the ect, and all of them were close to three times qualifications specified for the project. higher than the $1.5 million original estimate The project is designed to prevent future cloof staff. sures of Siesta Key Beach to swimming because of unhealthful levels of bacteria resultAn analysis provided to the County Commising from stormwater runoff into the Gulf. sion in a Feb. 13 memo indicated the biggest reason for the higher bids was too low an es- Rachel Brown Hackney

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