Bitter Creek Reclamation Project Moves Forward

During the Rock Springs City Council meeting Tuesday evening, the Council approved a contract for the Bitter Creek Reclamation Project. SweetwaterNOW photo

ROCK SPRINGS — After questioning the request for proposal (RFP) process and adding two Rock Springs City Councilorsto the RFP selection committee to review bids for the Bitter Creek Reclamation Project, a contract has been approved.

During the Rock Springs City Council meeting Tuesday evening, the Council voted to approve a contract for professional services with William H. Smith and Associates Inc., for the Bitter Creek project in the amount of $303,640. Mayor Tim Kaumo voted against the motion saying he didn’t think the process was fair to the original company the RFP selection committee recommended for approval.

Originally, JFC Engineering and Surveyors, which Mayor Kaumo is the president of, was selected by the RFP committee. However, after questions were raised about the RFP process used to select JFC, the Council decided to assign to member of the Council to that committee to help oversee the selection.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Kaumo said the project had already been sent through the RFP process twice and he just wants it to move forward, however he did have a couple of questions.

Mayor Kaumo wanted to know why William H. Smith didn’t have a Wyoming license for landscape and architect work when it’s a specific requirement. He also didn’t know why the firm they were about to select didn’t have a Wyoming business license either.

Councilor Keaton West asked the councilors on the RFP selection committee to address the question as to why a firm without a Wyoming license was selected.

Councilor Tim Savage said he couldn’t speak for the entire committee, but he did the best he could and the six-member committee reviewed it and made the recommendation.

Kaumo said the project just needs to move along because the city is losing valuable time.

“Those questions just need to be asked because the scope of work requirements were not met, but if the Council is comfortable in bypassing the rules for one firm when the others were met, then so be it,” Kaumo said.

Councilor Rob Zotti wanted to know why this wasn’t brought up sooner. Kaumo said it wasn’t brought to his attention until 3 pm Tuesday.

After that, a motion was made and approved, Mayor Kaumo voted no, while all other Councilors voted in favor of the motion. Councilor Billy Shalata was absent from the meeting.

Moving forward, Kaumo said he believes they have found a mechanism to remove any conflict or accusations against the city for its RFP process. Kaumo was referring to having an outside agency review any RFPs where JFC is involved.

Other Business

The Council approve a provisional request from Heather Anderson, Warren Anderson, Angie Pecolar, and Kevin Pecolar for permission to use the old fairgrounds on either October 21 or 22, to have a bonfire event for Rock Springs High School students in celebration of homecoming activities. This event will only take place if for some reason the RSHS can’t have its bonfire.

An ordinance titled “Offenses Concerning Public Morals and Decencies” passed first reading with no comments. According to this ordinance, the City of Rock Springs has determined it’s necessary to amend the age for the possession, gift, sale, and use of tobacco to be consistent with both federal and state laws recently passed, which raised the age of use from 18 years old to 21.