On Sept. 22, my company submitted the lowest of three bids for the city of Cape Girardeau's Fountain Street project. One of the project requirements was a 6 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program goal of which we were able to meet 1.12 percent. In meeting a DBE goal, there are several steps required that we implement. A lot of documentation is submitted with a bid, but it is too lengthy to explain in this space.
The day of our bid, we received only two bids from interested DBE companies, one of which we were able to use in our proposal to the city. The other DBE bid was approximately 24 percent higher than the lowest bid and was the highest of the three bids received for products and services identical in scope. We elected to use the lowest and most competitive bid, not knowing that it would cost us the job. By using the highest bid, we would have been able to meet the DBE goal, but we always use the best and most competitive bid. On Nov. 17, the Missouri Department of Transportation rejected our bid for failing to show a "good faith effort" in meeting the goal.
My frustration is obvious. No one wants to lose a million-dollar job. No program should be created as a handout but rather to teach business savvy and strength by learning to be competitive.
VINCE KELLEY, Nip Kelley Equipment Co., Cape Girardeau