Huffman answers construction questions

By Tony Parra

Roosevelt County Community Development Corporation and Portales contractors have heard a buzz from Portales residents concerned about local jobs going to Clovis constructors for the new Roosevelt County Chamber of Business Center in the downtown plaza.
RCCDC officials selected LCI 2 Inc. out of Clovis to do the construction work or contract the construction work out. Chairman of the RCCDC Kim Huffman said they only received two bids and they were from Clovis construction companies. The other bidding company was also from Clovis.
“Because we were using federal grant money, we had to go with the lowest bidder,” Huffman said. “I haven’t heard of the complaints first hand. It’s always someone was complaining at the grocery store and then I hear about it. It’s disappointing that nobody from Portales bid, but we had no choice. We had to select a contractor by the deadline.”
Huffman said the RCCDC opened the bid process in April and advertised it in the paper.
“My only concern was that Portales tax-payer money goes to the construction of it and wondered by Portales contractors weren’t doing it,” Max Merrick of Portales said. “But if they (RCCDC) advertised it in the paper and only two Clovis contractors bid on it then it sounds like it was done fair.”
Kevin Jones, owner of Kevin Jones Construction in Portales, said they could have done the work, but didn’t know about the bid process.
“I think it’s mainly because certain people are known for certain things,” Jones said. “Commercial constructors do commercial buildings more than others. We’re mostly into houses.”
Rudy Garcia of R.G. Lath and Plaster, Inc. said they could have done the plastering to the new building, but company was not selected by LCI 2 Inc. during LCI 2 Inc.’s bid process. Huffman said LCI 2 Inc. officials do their bid process for subcontractors before they entered their bid for general contracting to the RCCDC.
“They (LCI 2 officials) said they weren’t going to stucco the building because it was going to put them over budget,” Garcia said. “A few months later they started plastering but we didn’t have a chance to bid again. It’s unusual for everybody from out of town to do the work on the building, but it’s up to the general contractor on who they get to do the work.”
Garcia said R.G. Lath and Plaster, Inc. also serves as a general contractor, but that they could not have entered a bid because they are not bonded. Garcia said federal guidelines require the general contractor to be bonded, which means the company, not their insurance, accepts financial responsibility for future problems that may arise after construction.
Although Garcia and Jones said they would have liked to have seen someone from Portales do the construction, but noted their businesses have been busy with various projects in Roswell, Ruidoso and Clovis as well as the work they do in Portales.