Was it the ‘best’ bid?

 This week’s New Albany Board of Aldermen meeting didn’t improve our comfort level much with the plan to have a new independent contractor take over animal control in the city.

In fact, the bid deemed “lowest and best” on a 3-2 vote by the Board of Aldermen came from someone named Jim Taylor, who we understand lives in the county, not the city. He was not present at the meeting. This is Mr. Taylor’s entire bid:

“My sealed bid for the independent animal control job is $32,000 a year. I will provide and meet all requirements that are asked of me for this job.”

No details were provided in the bid for a four-year contract, but Bill Tucker, 4th ward alderman, said he had made a visit to where Mr. Taylor proposes to run his operation and he saw a building that he thought could be adapted to handle it.

In its request for bids, the city listed 15 specifications for the job, including furnishing traps, a kennel and vehicle. The contractor is to be on call 24 hours a day.

The bid specs did not specify how long animals must be kept by the contractor, what efforts must be made to run a successful adoption program or what hours and days of the week the facility must be open for pet owners to retrieve their pets or view animals for adoption.

It seems to us that all of those things could affect the operating costs significantly. We think the contractor should be required to maintain the animals at least seven days.

We don’t understand how any of the bidders could determine on what basis to make a reasonable bid. We would have expected that a bid to run a decent quality operation would have been in the neighborhood of $50,000 or more.

We understand that it will be up to Bobby Carter, city attorney, to work out the actual contract to be signed. Perhaps he will be able to put enough specificity in the details to allay concerns. But we think the city should be protected by a quick-and-certain out clause should contract terms not be kept.