Meeker County Board rejects all quotes for track loader

January 14, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Meeker County Board of Commissioners rejected all quotes Tuesday for a new compact track loader, although the quotes came from local businesses and were lower than the state’s already negotiated prices for the same equipment.

Commissioner Dave Gabrielson said Dec. 18, he was partial to the Bobcat brand and wanted the county to buy a Bobcat T300 for $45,413 from Farm-Rite Equipment, Inc. of Dassel. It wasn’t the lowest quote, though.

Also, the compact track loaders in the quotes from Farm-Rite, and Schlauderaff Equipment and Haug Implement, both of Litchfield, weren’t identical units. Schlauderaff’s New Holland, at $42,750, was 82.4 inches in width, too wide to fit on the county’s trailer, according to Highway Engineer Ron Mortensen.

The Haug John Deere CT332 quote was for $49,570.

The board decided Dec. 18 to have the county attorney, Stephanie Beckman, review the quotes.

Beckman advised Tuesday that the board had two options, reject the three quotes from the county businesses and open the purchase to bids from all dealers, or go with the state’s negotiated contract prices.

Mortensen said the total package using the state’s negotiated prices will total more than $50,000.

Commissioner Jim Swenson said Tuesday he preferred that the county buy the unit from a Meeker County business, rather than from a dealer in Duluth, for example. The state’s contract prices are already negotiated with dealers from around Minnesota.

Tim Cox of Farm-Rite was confidant the county would get a Bobcat from the Dassel company, because it matched the specifications exactly, and was the only dealer that could provide the advance control system the county needs, he said.

Mortensen didn’t bring the state’s contract information that listed all the various specifications and prices with him to the board meeting, though, so he didn’t want to say Tuesday what the county will be getting.

The board tabled the final decision on whether to buy the track loader to the Tuesday, Jan. 15 meeting.

Odds and ends

The county board:

• hired Erica Weires as a full-time secretary for the probation department.

• promoted Kari Rath to Appraiser II from Appraiser I, because she completed her education.

• scheduled the County Board of Equalization for Tuesday, June 17 at 1 p.m.

• listened to a report from Assistant County Attorney Beth Cummins that the court of appeal affirmed the county board’s decision to not require an environmental impact statement from Dan Fitterer of Litchfield. Fitterer wanted to expand his dairy feedlot operation near Lake Minnie Belle. In 2005, a citizen organization, Friends of Lake Minnie Belle, challenged the board’s decision in court to not require an EIS.

Cummins said it is unlikely the organization will appeal the affirmation to a higher court, the Supreme Court, because the Supreme Court must first approve hearing the appeal. Appeals are not automatic to the Supreme Court, she said.