Earlier this month, the Assembly approved a 30-year contract to Valley Utilities to build water and sewer systems for the Goose Creek Correctional Center.
Assembly member Jim Colver says Valley Utilities was at an unfair advantage. During Tuesday's meeting, Assembly members had to decide whether to rescind that contract.
"This sewer deal smells worse than the sewage we're supposed to be treating out there, in my opinion," Colver said.
He asked for an independent analysis of the bidding process to determine whether Valley Utilities had an unfair advantage.
One of the company's owners had previously worked at the prison site for an engineering firm the borough hired to test water.
"When you are the owner's representative and you are a design engineer, you don't then jump on the other side of the fence and then be involved in the procurement or the project that you designed," Colver said.
"It's passed the smell test, if you will, from several different layers of attorneys, hours of consultants, the state, then we bring it to the table to question and again delay the process, costing the developer money, costing us money," said Assembly member Pete Houston.
Some Assembly members argued that all of the parties that applied for the contract had access to the same information Valley Utilities did.
"Belaboring the point based on, ‘Is this a level playing field?' I think is counterproductive to, ‘the borough is open for business.' We want people to come, we're interested in development that's going to create jobs," Houston said.
Assembly members voted unanimously not to rescind the contract. Colver's motion to have an outside attorney review the bid process did not pass either.
Some Assembly members say there is an immense amount of pressure on them from state officials to quickly approve any plans for the prison project to avoid delaying construction.
Goose Creek Correctional Center is scheduled to open in late 2011.
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