(1) The commissioners may employ labor and provide equipment as may be necessary, except as provided in subsection (4), for constructing and opening of new roads or bridges and repair and maintenance of any existing roads and bridges.
(2) It shall be the duty of all persons to whom the commissioners deliver equipment and supplies for road and bridge purposes to make a strict accounting of the same to the commissioners.
(3) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a county, municipality, or special district may not own or operate an asphalt plant or a portable or stationary concrete batch plant that has an independent mixer; however, this prohibition does not apply to any county that owns or is under contract to purchase an asphalt plant as of April 15, 2008, and that furnishes its plant-generated asphalt solely for use by local governments or companies under contract with local governments for projects within the boundaries of the county. Sale of plant-generated asphalt to private entities or local governments outside the boundaries of the county is prohibited.
(4) All construction and reconstruction of roads and bridges, including resurfacing, full scale mineral seal coating, and major bridge and bridge system repairs, to be performed utilizing the proceeds of the 80-percent portion of the surplus of the constitutional gas tax shall be let to contract to the lowest responsible bidder by competitive bid, except for:
(a) Construction and maintenance in emergency situations, and
(b) In addition to emergency work, construction and reconstruction, including resurfacing, mineral seal coating, and bridge repairs, having a total cumulative annual value not to exceed 5 percent of its 80-percent portion of the constitutional gas tax or $400,000, whichever is greater, and
(c) Construction of sidewalks, curbing, accessibility ramps, or appurtenances incidental to roads and bridges if each project is estimated in accordance with generally accepted cost-accounting principles to have total construction project costs of less than $400,000 or as adjusted by the percentage change in the Construction Cost Index from January 1, 2008,
for which the county may utilize its own forces. However, if, after proper advertising, no bids are received by a county for a specific project, the county may use its own forces to construct the project, notwithstanding the limitation of this subsection. Nothing in this section shall prevent the county from performing routine maintenance as authorized by law.
(5)(a) For contracts in excess of $250,000, any county may require that persons interested in performing work under the contract first be certified or qualified to do the work. Any contractor prequalified and considered eligible to bid by the department to perform the type of work described under the contract shall be presumed to be qualified to perform the work so described. Any contractor may be considered ineligible to bid by the county if the contractor is behind an approved progress schedule by 10 percent or more on another project for that county at the time of the advertisement of the work. The county may provide an appeal process to overcome such consideration with de novo review based on the record below to the circuit court.
(b) The county shall publish prequalification criteria and procedures prior to advertisement or notice of solicitation. Such publications shall include notice of a public hearing for comment on such criteria and procedures prior to adoption. The procedures shall provide for an appeal process within the county for objections to the prequalification process with de novo review based on the record below to the circuit court.
(c) The county shall also publish for comment, prior to adoption, the selection criteria and procedures to be used by the county if such procedures would allow selection of other than the lowest responsible bidder. The selection criteria shall include an appeal process within the county with de novo review based on the record below to the circuit court.