City Council approves Higher Bidder for Missouri City decommissioning project

City Council votes in favor 5-2; Decides not to wait for utility board report

The City Council, on July 10th, voted 5-2 to award a $9.7 million proposal to decommission the shutdown Missouri City Power Plant to the high bidder.

Council members voting in favor said the project had been put off too long and the company awarded the contract had more experience.

The contract was awarded to Environmental Operations, Inc. The city received another qualified bid for $4.25 million.

The Public Utilities Advisory Board (PUAB) held a public hearing on July 6th on the proposal.

No one spoke in support of the EOI proposal, several persons spoke in opposition and others asked questions. The public hearing lasted approximately an hour and a half. Approximately 40 people attended.

At the conclusion, the PUAB adopted a motion (5-1) to ask the City Council to delay consideration of the EOI proposal at its July 10th meeting so the utility board could have time to digest information presented at the public hearing and responses to its own questions.

The City Council, at its July 10th meeting, decided to go ahead and approve the contract and not wait for the PUAB report.

Two different motions to delay council consideration until May 2018 and August 2017 were both defeated 5-2.

The council vote was the same on all three motions - approving the contract and opposing the two motions to delay consideration.

The five votes were: John Perkins, Curt Dougherty, Tom Van Camp, Chris Whiting and Eileen Weir.

The two votes were: Scott Roberson and Karen DeLuccie.

The PUAB submitted 18 questions to the City Council regarding the EOI proposal. Written responses were provided including a minority report from two city council members - Scott Roberson and Karen DeLuccie who oppose the contract.

Here are links to the proposals submitted by the two firms whose bids were accepted.

Environmental Operations Inc. (EOI)

Commercial Liability Partners

The matter received extensive discussion at the June 15th Public Utilities Advisory Board (PUAB) which voted 4-1 against recommending the higher bid to the City Council. Board members raised several questions about why the lower bid from Commercial Liability Partners was not acceptable.

The PUAB reconvened on June 23 to develop questions it wanted answered by the City Council regarding their recommendation to go with the higher bid. More than a dozen questions were submitted and written responses are expected at the 10:30 am special July 6th meeting at the Public Utility Center.

The selection occurred following a two-step process: a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in the fall of 2016 which was formally scored but did not include price information followed by a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the spring of 2017. The RFP was not scored - one of the issues raised by the PUAB and opponents.

The five evaluators gave EOI a score of 79.5, followed by CLP 75.5 and National Salvage and Title 70. Evaluations notes on strengths and weakness of the five submitting firms were also developed.

The weakness for EOI, which won the contract, was "no power plant remediation experience."

In the subsequent RFP submission, CLP got National Salvage to join their proposal and handle the demolition. National Salvage strength, noted in the 2016 evaluation notes, was "Extensive Experience with Power Plant Decommissioning and Demolition."

CLP, in its 2017 proposal, noted its proposed demolition subcontractor National Salvage had 10 active power plant demolition projects.

The city wants to close out the old power plant which began operations in 1954 and which stop generating power in September 2015. The coal power plant, located in Clay County, sits on 87 acres on the Missouri River.

Earlier 2015 engineering studies indicated the cost for closing out the power plant could top $17 million to dismantle and sell the site which also includes a recently closed coal ash pond. The ash pond closure project cost approximately $2 million.

The city issued a formal RFP in this February. Three bids were received by the March 31 deadline. Environmental Operations and Commercial Liability Partners submitted proposals. One proposal was considered non-responsive.

City staff, during the PUAB meeting and in city council documents, said they were "directed" by the City Council on May 15, 2017 to negotiate a contract with Environmental Operations which resulted in the contract currently before the City Council.

The PUAB has extensive responsibilities under the City Charter to make sure the city utilities are managed in a businesslike manner.

The Missouri City contract is be one of the largest city contracts in recent years.

Key documents on the Missouri City project are available on the Indy Energy website.