Two bids for new city equipment were questioned Tuesday by City Councilman Brook Baker when the council met at City Hall.
First, Baker asked why the lowest bid for a new backhoe-loader for the water department was not recommended to the council, but a higher priced unit was.
Jerry Deal of the city water department said the lower bid did not meet all the required specifications, including horsepower, and the operating controls were distinctly different from what the city’s operators are familiar with, which would require re-training.
Deal said safety is a consideration, because operators would have had to adjust from one control system on existing equipment to a different system on the new tractor, raising the odds of an accident.
When it came time to vote, the council unanimously accepted the bid of $70,636 from Murphy Tractor of North Platte for a John Deere.
Titan Machinery offered a Case for $69,900. Nebraska Machinery offered to sell the city a Caterpillar for $86,342.
Deal added that the city has always received good service on its John Deere equipment.
Next, Baker also questioned why a lower bid of $19,999 from Bill Summers for a Ford SUV for the water department was not accepted over a bid for a Chevrolet SUV from Janssen Motors of $23,900.
Leroy Kramer, another water employee, told Baker the warranty on the Chevrolet was for 100,000 miles, meeting the required specifications that were provided to the bidders. The Ford warranty was for 60,000 miles, falling short of the specs.
Also, Kramer said he personally looked at each vehicle and found the Ford did not seat five people comfortably like the Chevrolet, which was in the specs too.
He said the vehicle would be used daily in water department duties and also transport employees on trips for certification training, so it must carry five passengers comfortably.
The council voted unanimously to accept the bid from Janssen Motors for the Chevrolet.
Also, the council:
• Amended a city ordinance to prohibit smoking within 50 feet of the water splash pad at Memorial Park. This was the first of three readings on the change, and it will come back for a second reading in two weeks. A member of the Tobacco Free Coalition talked about the hazards of second-hand smoke.
• Accepted and authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Roads to resurface Rodeo Road/U.S. Highway 30. City Administrator Jim Hawks said the city’s cost will amount to about 5 percent of the total. The project could get underway this year.
• Approved an inter-local agreement with Lincoln County for maintenance of roads on the edge of town.
• Approved a change in Casey’s General Store liquor license. Casey’s at 520 Rodeo Road is expanding their building, and their liquor license requires an accurate statement of the square footage of the building.
• Approved an application by Fun Center Inc. doing business as Cedar Bowl/Touchdown Club, for a special liquor license Sept. 28 at the D&N Event Center for a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight.