A follow-up meeting to discuss the purchase of a firetruck for McMinnville Fire Department ended with the city going with the lowest bid of $849,448 and saving an additional $38,000 in discounts to buy a new firetruck for $811,048.
During a Safety Committee meeting held last month to consider the two bids received, Fire Chief Kendall Mayfield recommended the city purchase from E-One at a cost of $897,263, which is the company that supplied the city’s Tower One. Mayfield said Pierce did not meet the bid specifications with its bid of $849,448.
Officials are required by law to accept the lowest and best bid. If all dealerships meet the specifications and the only difference is price, the city is legally obligated to go with the lowest bidder. However, if the lowest bidder does not meet the bid specs, justification can be made for accepting a higher bid.
The committee postponed making a decision and asked Mayfield to inquire with both companies about purchasing a demonstration truck. This month, Mayfield changed his stance on his recommendation to purchase from E-One and says both companies are now offering discounts to the city if it purchases new and not a demo.
“I’ve had discussions with both companies,” he said. “Either one is good for us so it’s whichever way you want to go. In the package, there are discounts they both are offering on purchasing a new truck.”
City administrator Bill Brock says he asked Mayfield to review the bids again given the $47,815 price difference between them.
“I asked Chief Mayfield to go back and look at this because the committee has looked at it one time,” Brock said. “I asked him to bring salesmen in from both companies, not to do a sales talk to you, but to answer any questions you had about the differences in the trucks. I’ve looked at the specs. With the dollar amount difference you’re talking about it’s just hard to overcome and not go with the cheaper bid.”
The discounts are for various items and were approximately $40,000 on both trucks. When it comes to Pierce, it offers a $27,573 interest discount for prepaying 100 percent of the purchase price within 30 days of contract signing which is several months before the truck is delivered, a $7,232 chassis discount, a $3,593 aerial discount, and a $6,244 discount to drop the performance bond.
Brock warned against taking some of the price markdowns, including a deduction for removing the performance bond and agreeing to prepay for the truck.
“Some of the discounts you don’t need to be taking,” said Brock. “The city would never, and I think the counsel would say, never give up a performance bond. That’s our insurance policy. That’s about our only guarantee. I’m not a big fan of paying for something I can’t see, feel or touch, even though I know it saves you some money. I would hope you would not look at these discounts.”
Alderman Ben Newman, although not on the Safety Committee, says he would feel comfortable prepaying as long as the performance bond remains in place.
Alderman Everett Brock motioned to accept the bid from Pierce, accept all the discounts offered except removal of the performance bond, for a total of $811,048. The measure passed unanimously by Brock and Aldermen Ryle Chastain and Mike Neal.