Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com
A vendor claims Dallas taxpayers will be wasting big money on overpriced equipment for the Elm Fork Athletic Complex near Stemmons and Walnut Hill. The project is up for a vote tomorrow.
A lighting vendor says Dallas taxpayers stand to loose hundreds of thousands of dollars in overpriced equipment for a park project scheduled for City Council approval Wednesday.
The Elm Fork Athletic Complex along Walnut Hill Lane west of Stemmons Freeway has been in the works for about seven years to add much-needed soccer fields in Northwest Dallas.
Seven contractors bid for the job -- which includes extensive lighting -- with the lowest offering to do it for $11.7 million
Mike Kiker, of Qualite of Texas, said the city would pay about $600,000 more than it would if his company’s lights had been used for the job.
"In the environment that we're in, in shortfalls and budget concerns, the taxpayer needs to know that there's wasteful spending going on such as this," he said.
A rival vendor aided city officials in planning the project. Kiker claims that the cooperation resulted in lighting specifications that no other vendor could meet.
"They used technical attributes of a single manufacturer to lock everybody else out, allowing that particular vendor to control the project," he said.
But city officials denied that the vendor's involvement excluded competitors from offering similar products.
"He claims that he could match them, but yet, no contractor submitted a price with his product," said Assistant Parks Director Willis Winters.
Winters said the city was concerned about the warranty, longevity and energy efficiency of the lighting. The successful vendor provided the best overall deal for taxpayers, even if the initial cost is higher, he said.
"They'll replace the bulbs, furnish the bulbs over 25 years," Winters said. "It's a great deal for the city of Dallas."
The project appears on the addendum of Wednesday's Dallas City Council agenda.