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Council rejects three bids for roller due to high cost, lack of information

by David Meyer

MAPLETON TWP. - In a penny pinching move, council here has rejected three bids to provide a rubber tire static roller for one of its road graders.

There were a number of unusual moves last week surrounding director of public works Larry Lynch’s report and recommendations.

He had obtained three bids to supply the roller, which is attached to the rear of a grader. That allows freshly graded gravel to be packed down immediately after being graded. Lynch said there are two township graders, and the one with a roller does a better job because freshly graded gravel stays in place longer.

His report stated, “This equipment is not mass produced and staff have been actively searching for machine shop personnel to fabricate such a unit. With over 150km of gravel roads in the township this addition to our fleet will have a significant impact on our gravel road maintenance operations.” He added staff had been able to identify three companies that could meet township specifications.

The bids ranged from Harold Jones Enterprises in Arthur at $11,000 plus HST, Hutchison Welding, Listowel, at $12,350; and Graham Bowman Welding, also of Listowel, at $12,500.

Lynch took the unusual step of recommending the Bowman bid, the highest, because he said that company provided the most information about what it would provide.

“I recommend the higher bid because there is not much difference in price and I know exactly what I’m getting,” Lynch told council.

Councillor Neil Driscoll was unhappy with the higher cost, and noted Jones builds such equipment for a living.

Lynch argued, “That quote doesn’t tell me very much.”

When council held a vote on the more expensive roller, councillors Andy Knetsch and Jim Curry were in favour, and Driscoll and councillor Mike Downey were opposed. Mayor Bruce Whale broke the tie by opposing it.

Council then considered a motion to hire Jones, the low bidder, for $11,000 plus HST.

Downey pointed out council had just rejected two other items because of a lack of information.

Driscoll said, “The biggest issue is we’re over the budget of $10,000.”

Council then voted on hiring the low bidder. Downey and Curry were in favour, and Knetsch and Driscoll were opposed. Whale again broke the tie by opposing that motion.

Lynch then asked who he could hire to build a roller.

Driscoll said he could “go back to all three” or perhaps find someone else entirely.

Lynch said he had been unable to do that over the course of the year.

“I don’t see anyone on a list who builds packers,” he said. “Staff has been chasing this all year.” Lynch added the low bid was $1,000 over the budget, but, “We picked that out of the air.”

Driscoll suggested, “Don’t pick numbers out of the air.”

Lynch said he had gone through staff to get the $10,000 budget figure. “I’m frustrated. I don’t know where to go.”

Whale suggested if the township has a design and specifications, he could give that to all three bidding companies. He added if they cannot do the work, he knows someone that might be able to do it.

Lynch agreed, “There are local people who, if you give them a drawing on a napkin, they can do it.” He asked Driscoll if he knows of anyone local who might be able to do the work.

Driscoll replied, “You bet.”

 

December 23, 2011

 
 

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