Work to repair the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway levee resumed Thursday morning, after a Missouri Bootheel construction company dropped its dispute that a Las Vegas-based company didn't meet federal small-business requirements.
Donald Bond Construction of New Madrid County filed an official protest late last week on the grounds that Wadley Construction of Nevada wasn't a small business, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Jim Pogue. Federal contracts for this type of job have to be awarded to a small business, Pogue said. The Small Business Administration defines a small business construction company as one that does $14 million of work per year or less.
Once a protest is filed, which happened Monday, federal law requires that work stop until the matter is resolved, Pogue said.
"But the protest has been dropped and we're back in operations as before," Pogue said. "We basically lost three days. But we can make that up. It's not going to impact us meeting our Nov. 30 deadline."
Pogue said Wadley Construction identified itself as a small business on its application and that the corps trusts that applications are accurate. Federal agencies are required to establish contracting goals, with at least 23 percent of all government buying targeted to small firms.
While no one from Wadley could be reached for comment Thursday morning, its website claims that the company "will do over $15MM in revenues."
Donald Bond Construction lost out in its bid to haul clay to Wadley for the roughly $1 million project, said company owner Donald Bond. His company's annual projects come in under $14 million "by a whole bunch," he said.
He filed the protest last week when he noticed what the company said on its website about revenue.
"We still believe them to be a large business," Bond said. "But we lifted the protest so the corps could go back to work. I was not protesting the work. I was protesting the size of the company that got the contract."
Bond didn't want to hold up repairs to the levee that the corps breached in three spots in May to alleviate flooding in other areas. That decision unleashed floodwaters on about 130,000 acres of farmland in New Madrid and Mississippi counties.
The corps' $15 million project calls for restoring the levee to a height of 51 feet, which is below the pre-blast level of 62.5 feet. But the corps has said it is awaiting an additional $21 million to complete the project.
But since Bond filed the protest, he has heard from farmers and members of area levee districts "with a few complaints" about his protests. He lifted his protest out of respect for them, but he added that he hopes that some federal agency will investigate the matter.
New Madrid County, MO
Mississippi County, MO