Truck purchase resurrects buy-local debatePublished 5:34pm Sunday, April 8, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — Purchasing a snowplow truck after the winter that wasn’t stirred a Cass County Board of Commissioners debate Thursday night about taking the lowest bid versus the most local bid.
In an 11-4 vote, commissioners stuck with a lower bid from Berrien County.
“We need to develop a purchasing policy for local vendors,” Commissioner Ron Francis, R-Cassopolis, said, with C. Wimberley of Dowagiac outbid by $256 by Siemens of Bridgman for a truck to replace a 1997 Ford F-250 with rusted body and frame.
The county received four quotes for the truck and three for the plow, of which the low bid was $5,073 from North Side Auto in Elkhart, Ind., making the total purchase price $26,798.
“Here’s an individual who spends money in the county and hires county residents,” Francis said.
“I agree with Ron,” said Commissioner E. Clark Cobb, D-Dowagiac. “He employs 38 people. He pays property taxes here. One of the main things our table came up with at the county Planning Commission (visioning exercise) was that the county lacks support for local business. This is the epitome of that right here. I think we should overlook this small of a difference buying a truck.”
Cobb joined Francis, Charlie Arnold and Robert Ziliak in the minority.
Ziliak, R-Milton Township, said his no vote reflected that “we didn’t have any snow this winter. I think he can get one more year out of this, rebid and see what happens.”
Commissioner Johnie Rodebush, D-Howard Township, said, “We take the bid that’s most beneficial to the county.”
Vice Chairman Ed Goodman, R-Silver Creek Township, said 40 percent of people who live in Cass County work in Indiana.
Chair Minnie Warren said the county bought six vehicles from Wimberley in five years.
Building and Grounds Director Dave Dickey said, “This didn’t just pop up. It’s been asked for for some time” and will be used in summer as well as winter.
“We haven’t gotten a truck since ’09. I bring you guys the best information I can, then you decide what to do with it. You’re not going to benefit me by getting a truck. I’ll get by with whatever you say.”
“Trucks he’s got look brand-new because he takes care of this equipment,” Commissioner Carl Higley Sr., R-Edwardsburg said.