County commissioner Jim Rice, left, presents Stacy Johnson, Marcie Weatherly and Crystal Clemens with an award from the U.S. Census Bureau Monday at the commission meeting for their help with the 2010 Census. Daily Leader photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Repair work was recently completed to a road at the Seward County Landfill by a Liberal company. The work was estimated to have cost a little more than $11,000, a price which under the county’s purchasing policy requires the department head to submit bids.
Landfill supervisor Mike Tabor said he did not submit the project for bids because it is a repair and not a new purchase.
“The road had deteriorated somewhat due to weather over the years and a lot of heavy truck traffic,” he told the county commission Monday. “It finally deteriorated to the point that the gate would not work anymore because of the wiring that’s in the pavement. We had our gate totally non-functional for a couple of weeks.”
For this reason, Tabor said he called J and R Sand of Liberal.
“They came over and looked at it,” he said. “It just happened that the timing was perfect because of the fact that they are milling and asphalting Eighth Street. They actually had the equipment sitting in our driveway at the time.”
Tabor said he was told he could save as much as $2,000 if the work was done immediately.
“I had them do that, and they tore out and milled one lane of our main road about 100 feet long, put two layers of asphalt back in there so that we could repair and get our gate going,” he said. “The repair was $11,300. We did not take a bid on this – number one – because there’s only one company in Southwest Kansas that can lay mill asphalt. You’ve got to have an asphalt plant running. You’ve got to have a lot of major equipment to do it. It was all sitting right there, and it was, basically, in my opinion, a no-brainer to get the thing fixed.”
After getting the bill for the project, Tabor submitted a voucher for payment to the clerk’s office, and he said county clerk Stacia Long would not sign the voucher because the county’s purchasing policy was not followed.
“We don’t normally do bids on repairs on existing equipment whether it be a scraper for an engine or a road repair,” Tabor said. “It’s something we have to do. I think I made the right decision in having the thing done and saving the money. I stand by that. All we’re asking you to do tonight is make a waiver on the purchasing policy so that we can get this thing paid.”
The commission voted 4-0 with commissioner C.J. Wettstein absent to waive the purchasing policy to approve the formal bid requirement to advertise for the service.
Tabor also asked the board to provide a permanent waiver of the policy for the purchase of dumpsters for the landfill’s waste management business. He said he has discussed the issue with the commission for the last three years for the county’s budget, and he said with rapid growth in waste management, dumpsters are needed faster than they can be approved.
“In the last three years, we’ve purchased dumpsters probably 20, 25 times with quite a substantial amount of money,” Tabor said. “We have never had any problem with that.”
Tabor said he would like to have the purchasing policy waived in the future for dumpsters to avoid having to revisit the issue.
“We do have to purchase those dumpsters,” he said. “I happen to have some ordered right now. A load is 36. You don’t want to order any less to keep it under the $10,000 mark. Then you pay extra freight. We always order a truck load when we have to order them.”
Tabor said the timing on this is critical. The landfill has bought thousands of dumpsters. He said the landfill currently owns about 2,000 dumpsters, but buying will continue.
“I’ve got 36 ordered now,” he said. “Those vouchers are over $10,000. There’s one company in Oklahoma that builds the dumpsters to suit our trucks, so we buy them all from the same place.”
Long asked Tabor the cost of the dumpsters. Tabor said they are approximately $400 for one, and Long said the purchasing policy does not apply to individually-purchased items.
“If it’s one item above $10,000, that’s when it would be an issue,” Long said.
County administrator Mary Bloomer said the county does not want to play games when items are bought in bulk, and she said those items are usually more than $10,000. Long emphasized, however, that the purchasing policy does not apply to individually-purchased items.
“They’re $400 apiece,” she said. “It is not an issue.”
Tabor said the company the dumpsters are bought from are not the only one in the world that builds sideload dumpsters, but they are the only one in the central U.S.
The commission voted 4-0 to waive the purchase policy for dumpsters.