Unsuccessful bidder for debris program files lawsuit

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Unsuccessful bidder for debris program files lawsuit

Legal proceedings again attempt to delay start of Marshall Fire debris removal program

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County received notice yesterday that Ceres Environmental Services, Inc., a Florida corporation, filed a lawsuit in Boulder County District Court requesting that a court invalidate and terminate the County’s contract with DRC Emergency Services, LLC (DRC) for the County’s coordinated Private Property Debris Removal (PPDR) program for properties destroyed by the Marshall Fire.

"This lawsuit is without merit," said County Attorney Ben Pearlman. "It’s heartbreaking that a large disaster management firm with no ties to Colorado is attempting to hold up our ability to make progress in Marshall Fire recovery efforts. We’ve learned throughout this process that in the highly competitive environment of private disaster management firms, like Ceres, are focused more on money than on the families affected by disasters."

The Boulder County Commissioners awarded the PPDR bid on Feb. 10 to DRC after an evaluation team composed of staff from Boulder County, the City of Louisville, and the Town of Superior recommended DRC as the bidder that would provide the best value to the county among the 11 bids received. The bid from Ceres was ranked third by the committee, and the company was not one of the two selected to be interviewed by the committee because of the large scoring gap between the Ceres proposal and the two firms selected to interview. Out of a total possible score of 100, Ceres received a score of 68, as compared to the two other firms receiving scores of 84 and 91.

The county has followed its own policy and state and federal guidance regarding disaster debris removal procurement. Details about the procurement have been published on the county website. Ceres’ objections to and appeal of the PPDR procurement process were discussed at a County Commissioners’ public business meeting on March 8 and denial of Ceres’ appeal was supported with a written explanation.

The County has consulted not only with its internal experts and state officials who possess expertise in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants, but  also with the State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) and FEMA at all stages of the project and has received and incorporated recommendations to proceed at all times in accordance with FEMA requirements. The County also has already requested and received FEMA’s determination that the PPDR project is eligible for FEMA reimbursement.

Unless otherwise ordered by a court, the County intends to move forward without interruption to the existing timeline.

The County will do everything in its power to stop Ceres from disrupting cleanup of the approximately 750 households that have chosen to participate in the PPDR program.  

The filing by CERES is available on the county website. Additional information on the PPDR program is available at www.BoCo.org/Marshall-Debris-Cleanup.