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Friday, July 20th, 2012

Business owner questions BOE on bids

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - A business owner who submitted the low bid for work at St. Marys City Schools wants to know the reason why board members are considering going with a higher bid.
Stacey Roby, owner of HDL Property Services, St. Marys, submitted the lower of two bids - $789 per event - for snow removal during the coming school year. Whitney Painting and Sandblasting, St. Marys, submitted a bid of $947 per event.
Roby told the school board's building and grounds committee during a meeting Thursday he "felt disappointed and disrespected" by how the board had treated him during a meeting last week.
At that meeting, board member Lisa Tobin recommended approving HDL's lower bid, but board member Brian Little objected. Little said the school has worked with Whitney Painting, owned by Dave Whitney, and knows the company has the equipment and ability to do the job well. HDL has a smaller fleet and has never cleared an area as large as the school, he said.
"I believe these contracts are apples to oranges, and I would make the motion to go with the higher bidder," Little had said. "They (Whitney) might be the higher bidder, but they are the responsible bid."
The board tabled the issue until the August board meeting.
Roby on Thursday said he has the equipment to get the job done, mentioning recent purchases, including a pay loader with a 14-foot snow box.
"If you total up the equipment I have, I can do 15 acres in an hour," he said. "St. Marys has 9.5 acres (in parking lots). We start the operation at 4 a.m. As long as I have notification, there shouldn't be a problem getting the job done."
Little said with the new information Roby provided, he now could compare the contracts apples to apples. However, state law says the board must go by what the original contracts say.
"The original contract said you didn't have enough people and equipment, and Whitney for the last two years has used four trucks and cleared it in two hours," Little said. "You can't come back and change the contract now that you have enough. We have to go by the original contract."
Roby said officials were told he would buy the necessary equipment and hire more workers to handle the contract. District business manager Kurt Kuffner last week told board members Roby had promised to buy more equipment.
Roby's company was awarded the mowing contract for the school and did a good job, Kuffner also had said.
"We were really skeptical when they bid for mowing, but they said if they got the contract, they would purchase more equipment," he had said. "They did, and they did a great job ... We have no reason to believe they wouldn't do a great job with snow removal."
Board members plan to award a contract to one of the companies during the board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8 in the high school auditorium.
Also at Thursday's committee meeting, athletic director Doug Spencer said soccer coaches would like a waterline run to the new dugouts to provide water for free-standing spigots.
Total cost is expected to be no more than $2,500, and it wouldn't be installed until after the dugouts are constructed in early August. The committee made no recommendation on the project.
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