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City’s fuel system to go to bid

By Staff | Nov 26, 2011

Cape Coral will see if it’s getting the best price on its new fuel management system by going through the public bid process.

Councilmember Marty McClain asked the city manager to pursue the public bids on Nov. 14.

The process is expected to take up to four months.

McClain is worried that SCI Systems, the Clearwater-based company which sold the city its software and was slated to do the same for the system upgrade, might not represent the best value for the city.

The city was prepared to spend $132,577.76 for all hardware and software upgrades, which also carried a recurring annual cost of $49,909.64 to be paid to SCI for maintenance and maintaining the fuel database.

That process now comes to a halt so the project can go out for bid and a project manager can be assigned.

“The purpose of this is to keep things transparent,” McClain said.

SCI was to be awarded the work via a waiver of the bid process.

Council has the ability to waive the process under certain circumstances, and the administration had recommended that this be one of those times due to the type of equipment sought.

The Cape has been wrangling with fuel management concerns for nearly a year.

After a special consultant found in an initial review that the city could not account for all of its fuel, both internal and outside audits were conducted.

The outside audit, conducted by Lee County Clerk of the Courts Charlie Green’s Office at the city’s request, found that there was roughly $32,000 in unreconciled fuel over the period of 2006 through 2010.

The amount was significantly less than the city had feared.

Meanwhile, the city decided to upgrade its system, something that had been recommended by staff at least twice before.

SCI, which had sold the city its old fuel system in 2003, was put in line to rehab and upgrade that system to create a system of checks and balances.

But since no contract was signed with SCI, the company now will have to get in line with other bidders if they want the city’s money.

SCI President Tal Ezra could not be reached for comment.

“We’ve been locked into the same vendor since 2003,” McClain said. “That’s one of the things I was concerned about, making sure we’re getting our money’s worth.”

Finance and Fleet Director Victoria Bateman said via email that SCI had done “very limited work” thus far and the purchase order for the forthcoming work was stopped.

She said the city will make a fresh start with the fuel management system.

“This way, we are ensuring all hardware and software is compatible and we are getting the best value for our money. Once we know the system to be implemented, we will have the correct engineer drawings to pull a permit to bring us up to code. Then, we can implement the new fuel management system,” Bateman wrote.