Shouldn’t city keep tax dollars here?
The Evanston City Council voted to award a $259,920 contract to an Idaho firm for engineering services on the Twin Ridge water line instead of keeping the money in Evanston. Contrary to what the Uinta County Herald reported, the project engineering services were not awarded by low bid but was a decision by a committee of five people appointed by city engineer Dean Barker.
After a motion by councilman Evan Perkes and a second by councilman David Welling to approve the contract, Lynch made a motion to table it until an analysis could be made to see how much it would benefit the city by awarding the contract to an Evanston firm, therefore keeping the money at home where it would benefit residents and the city with sales taxes and local merchants.
A short discussion followed during which the Evanston Mayor Kent Williams asked how it would affect the project if the award were delayed until the analysis could be made. There was no definite answer; and, although the project is not slated for construction until 2026, the mayor decided to call for a vote. With Perkes and Welling voting for, and Lynch and Councilmember Jen Hegeman voting against, Williams broke the tie by voting to send the money to Idaho.
Then, last week, Dean Barker informed me that because of the source of the grant funds, the city had to award the contract to J.U.B. because they were awarded 41.5 points, Forsgren was awarded 40 and Uinta Engineering & Surveying Inc. (UESI) awarded 39, based on the “consultant evaluation and ranking form” filled out by the committee.
Part of the form was “knowledge of the area,” in which Uinta Engineering, after being in business in Evanston for 50 years, was awarded 13.5 points of a possible 15; Forsgren was awarded 12 points for having a satellite office here; and J.U.B. was awarded nine points — they also have a satellite office.
UESI gained its knowledge of the area not only by completing hundreds of jobs in Evanston and employing from seven to more than 40 Evanston residents — many of which spent most of their lives in Evanston — but also my personal knowledge by living in, owning or being a part owner in five properties in section 28, which this waterline will pass through.
The other two firms have employed few or no Evanston residents and did considerably fewer jobs to gain their knowledge of the area; so how could their ratings be even close?
Evanston residents need to let the mayor and city council know how they feel about their tax dollars being sent out of state instead of staying at home.
Cloey C. Wall