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Published April 09, 2012, 06:55 PM

Some upset over Fergus Falls police station bid

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - The city of Fergus Falls is building a new police station, but some are upset over who gets to build it.

The city of Fergus Falls is building a new police station, but some are upset over who gets to build it. City council awarded the contract to a Twin Cities company, a move some say left local companies empty handed.

Ebert Construction is set to begin work on the new police station, but local businessman Rich Seland says that work should have gone to someone else.

Rich Seland – Seland’s Abbey Flooring Center: "Well there was eight contractors bidding total and there was one local."

Comstock Construction out of Fergus Falls submitted a bid of $3.68 million for the project, about $128,000 more than Ebert.

Rich Seland: "But when you look at the overall cost of $5.7 million for the project, I think it's a very small difference."

Some say when you award projects to local companies, the money goes right back into the community.

Rich Seland: "It'll be brought back by dollars being spent at local vendors, restaurants."

County Attorney David Hauser says municipalities are not allowed to favor local businesses over others.

David Hauser – Otter Tail County Attorney: "We're obligated as government entities to go with the low bid and the community is better off with the low bid b/c now the project with cost taxpayers less."

Seland says the city's history with Comstock should make a difference, but Hauser disagrees.

Rich Seland: "There are some exceptions to the public bidding law where perhaps there's just one source available professional contracts for instance with lawyers and architects. Construction does not, it's like a goods and services so there the lowest bidder should get the contract."

An employee with Comstock Construction told us over the phone today that he understands the city's position on the bidding matter.

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