Nebraska Revised Statute 17-918
Chapter 17 Section 918
Sewers; construction; contracts; notice; bids; acceptance.
After ordering any improvements as provided for in section 17-917, the city council or village board of trustees may enter into a contract for the construction of such improvements in one or more contracts, but no work shall be done or contract let until notice to contractors has been published in a legal newspaper in or of general circulation in such city or village. The notice shall be published in at least two issues of such newspaper and shall state the extent of the work, and the kinds of material to be bid upon, including in such notice all kinds of material mentioned in the resolution specified in section 17-913, the amount of the engineer's estimate of the cost of such improvements, and the time when bids will be received. The work shall be done under written contract with the lowest responsible bidder on the material selected after the bids are opened and in accordance with the requirements of the plans and specifications. The city council or village board of trustees may reject any or all bids received and advertise for new bids in accordance with this section.
- Laws 1919, c. 189, § 6, p. 429;
- Laws 1921, c. 281, § 2, p. 926;
- C.S.1922, § 4342;
- C.S.1929, § 17-533;
- R.S.1943, § 17-918;
- Laws 1975, LB 112, § 3;
- Laws 2017, LB133, § 253.
- Effective Date: August 24, 2017
A public body has discretion to award the contract to one other than the lowest of the responsible bidders whenever a submitted bid contains a relevant advantage. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
By mandating that contracts be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, the Nebraska Legislature is seeking to protect taxpayers, prevent favoritism and fraud, and increase competition in the bidding process by placing bidders on equal footing. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
Determining the lowest responsible bidder is a two-step process. The first step is for the public body to determine which bidders are responsible to perform the contract. The second step focuses on which of the responsible bidders has submitted the lowest bid. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
Determining the responsibility of bidders is a job for elected officials, and a court's only role is to review those decisions to make sure the public officials did not act arbitrarily, or from favoritism, ill will, or fraud. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
In addition to a bidder's pecuniary ability, responsibility pertains to a bidder's ability and capacity to carry on the work, the bidder's equipment and facilities, the bidder's promptness, the quality of work previously done by him or her, the bidder's suitability to the particular task, and such other qualities as are found necessary to consider in order to determine whether or not, if awarded the contract, he or she could perform it strictly in accordance with its terms. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
Public bodies do not act ministerially only, but exercise an official discretion when passing upon the question of the responsibility of bidders. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
When responsible bidders submit identical bids, the public body must award the contract to the lowest of the responsible bidders. Rath v. City of Sutton, 267 Neb. 265, 673 N.W.2d 869 (2004).
Engineer's estimate of cost of improvements must be stated in notice. Hutton v. Village of Cairo, 159 Neb. 342, 66 N.W.2d 820 (1954).