City wants to shop locally, administrator says
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville City Council approved a quote of $34,125 – $655 higher than the next closest quote – to purchase a squad vehicle for the Clintonville Police Department.
The approval came at the June 11 city council meeting, at the recommendation of City Administrator Sharon Eveland and the Clintonville Finance Committee.
The issue was discussed at the June 10 finance committee meeting, where Eveland said former Police Chief James Beggs requested a new squad car for the Clintonville Police Department a few months ago.
“Because we were still waiting on audit information and we knew some of the things that were coming down the pipeline might be a little more than we anticipated, I didn’t want to take anything out to the council to ask for additional capital funds until I had a better hold, or a better understanding, of where we actually stood with our capital fund,” Eveland told the committee.
Beggs wrote a memo earlier this year requesting $7,000 be added to a capital improvement projects fund for the purchase of a 2020 Ford Explorer squad vehicle.
“I am requesting the additional funding because Ford Motor Company stopped taking orders for the 2019 squad vehicles early in February 2019 without warning or announcement,” Beggs stated in the memo. “This is a much earlier cutoff date than in previous years. This forces the department to purchase a 2020 squad vehicle which carries an approximately $5,000 price increase. Ford also re-designed the 2020 model, which now forces the department to purchase additional equipment as the existing equipment does not fit. Even though the requested $7,000 does not cover the price increase and the additional equipment, I feel that this amount added to the existing budgeted amount will be sufficient to handle the situation.”
The memo also included three price quotes: Scaffidi Ford of Stevens Point, $33,395; Klein Ford-Winneconne (owned by Klein of Clintonville), $33,470; and Clintonville Motors, $34,125.
Although Clintonville Motors submitted the highest quote by at least $655, Eveland recommended the city purchase the squad from Clintonville Motors.
“Considering the cost difference, my concern is that I know the preference and the desire of the council is to shop local, and while Klein of Clintonville is local and they own Klein Ford of Winneconne, the business itself is not here in Clintonville,” Eveland told the committee. “Looking at just pure price, not considering anything else, I think the extra $700 is worth it to buy here.”
Committee member Jim Supanich asked if anyone talked to Clintonville Motors about the fact it provided the highest quote.
“No, and they’re not that much higher,” Eveland said.
She added it is not good practice to go back to a company after quotes have already been received.
Supanich said in the past the city has purchased Ford vehicles from Klein.
“Are we saying at this point we’ll no longer doing that?” Supanich asked.
Eveland said she didn’t recall those purchases.
“I’m never happy paying more money than we have to for something,” Supanich said.
He added he prefers to purchase from local companies, but Klein of Winneconne being owned by Klein in Clintonville puts the issue in a “gray area.”
“Since our city administrator doesn’t feel comfortable with Klein supplying a Ford at this point, I would say let’s go with Clintonville Motors,” Supanich said.
“I certainly like the idea of going local. Just as a fine point of interpretation, I think if a company is based here and has a branch somewhere else, but the main decision-making is here, to me that’s local,” Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hankins said.
Police Chief Craig Freitag said he does not know if the equipment inside the Clintonville Police Department’s current squad will fit inside the 2020 squad vehicle. He said he should know after the 2020 vehicles roll out next month.
Beggs had budgeted $32,000 for a new squad vehicle, and that amount would have been enough to cover the vehicle and any equipment needed for a 2019 vehicle, Freitag said.
To help cover the non-budgeted costs of a 2020 squad vehicle, Freitag said funds from a $4,000 Click It or Ticket grant could be used.
The committee unanimously approved recommending to the city council that the 2020 squad vehicle for the Clintonville Police Department be purchased from Clintonville Motors for $34,125. Committee member Brad Rokus was excused from the meeting.
When the council discussed the squad vehicle purchase on June 11, Alderwoman Julie Stumbris also questioned why the Klein quote wasn’t considered a local quote.
Eveland offered the same explanation as she did to the finance committee.
The council unanimously approved the $34,125 quote from Clintonville Motors. Alderman Chuck Manske was excused from the meeting.