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Dassel awards fire truck bid, following spirited discussion

Aug. 17, 2009

By Lynda Jensen
Editor

DASSEL, MN – The Dassel City Council approved the bid for a new fire truck pumper Monday, following spirited discussion.

A total of three bids came in for replacement of the Dassel Fire Department’s old yellow 1981 General pumper truck – a bid from Custom Fire of Osceola, WI, another from E-One of Ocala, FL., and third from R-NOW of West Allis, WI.

The fire department chose, and recommended to the council, the truck offered by Custom Fire of Osceola, WI.

Custom Fire was the only bidder that responded with the exact bidding requirements, which fulfilled the needs of the fire department.

The other two bids received did not follow the specs; and in fact, R-NOW substituted a truck made of aluminum instead of stainless steel, which is cheaper to build.

R-NOW representatives began a presentation to the council, attempting to sway it once again in favor of their bid, which came in low, since it’s cheaper to build an aluminum truck, Fire Chief Dale Grochow commented in the past.

R-NOW officials told council members that their truck could be as reliable as Custom Fire, and that the reason the roof dimensions were off was because of a typo. They offered to quote another truck with steel.

They also said that the Dassel Fire Department didn’t receive enough information about their product, even though fire officials have been in contact with them before, and have said that the R-NOW truck doesn’t meet their needs.

The R-NOW officials then continued on by making statements about Custom Fire that were described as inaccurate by the Custom Fire representative later.

Council Member Bob Wilde stopped the presentation, asking them “Why didn’t you come forward with this (information) by June 22?” referring to the bid closing date. “You bid aluminum, and now you’re offering steel,” he added.

One of the R-NOW officials said it was because of “miscommunication with the fire department,” and that they didn’t receive information on time, even though the bids were advertised through the city and were advertised during a 60-day bidding process.

At this point, Mayor Mike Scanlon ended the discussion, and asked the Custom Fire representative to remain seated, since he wished to correct statements being said about his company.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” Scanlon said, noting that the specs were not met by the other two bidders.

Council Member Bob Lalone wanted to know if a supplier produce their own specs, and could draw up their own requirements.

City Attorney Andrew MacArthur answered that the specs were 100 percent in compliance with the law, and that if a bid was drawn up to only cater to one supplier that his would be unusual, and wasn’t the case for Dassel.

At this point, Wilde made a motion to approve the Custom Fire bid, which was approved 4-1, with Bob Lalone voting no and the others – Wilde, Scanlon, Pat Haapala and Alesia Warner – voting yes.

A summary of each bid is as follows:

• Custom Fire bid $491,550. This company followed the bids precisely, McGrath noted.

• E-One bid $442,000. This company shaved some features off of the specs, McGrath noted.

• R-NOW bid $429,650, but the offer contains an aluminum and not steel truck; amongst other issues.

The two bids from E-One and Custom Fire are actually within $20,000 of each other when the missing features are added back in, comparing “apples to apples,” McGrath said.


 

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