Bid awarded for tractor replacement

Marquette County Facilities Manager Aaron Karlstrom speaks at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners. At the session, the commission approved a bid on a subcompact tractor, which the Marquette County Facilities Department will use for snow removal and lawn care at the courthouse complex. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Marquette County Board of Commissioners, the board approved a bid award for the replacement of the Marquette County Facilities Department’s subcompact maintenance tractor, which is used for lawn care and snow removal at the courthouse complex.

The board followed staff recommendation to award the bid of Northland Lawn, Sport & Equipment of Negaunee after three bids were considered for the replacement of the tractor.

The three bids received were from: Linsmeier Implement Inc. of Menominee, at $27,815; Rosy Brother Inc. of Dryden at $21,835; and Northland Lawn, Sport & Equipment of Negaunee at $21,989.

While Rosy Brother, Inc. was the low bidder, Marquette County Facilities Manager Aaron Karlstorm said staff recommended proceeding with Northland Lawn, Sport & Equipment due to a lack of response from Rosy Brother regarding the cab height requirement specified in the request for proposal.

“It almost took about a week, week and a half to get information back from (Rosy Brother Inc.) on whether or not the cab was going to meet this height requirement,” Karlstrom said. “They further said that it would, but they said there might be a change in price, and I asked to put this in writing and they never got back to me on that so staff at this time would consider that, given the lack of certain information, staff considers this is a bid non-responsive.”

The replacement subcompact tractor will have several advantages over the previous piece of equipment, Karlstrom said.

“The disadvantage of our existing tractor, is that it didn’t have a cab,” Karlstrom said. “Over the years that I’ve been working here and managing that piece of equipment, the winters were really tough to find people to utilize that piece of equipment — even though it was relatively easy to remove snow — it was just blowing, cold.”

It will also improve winter safety in a number of ways over the previous piece of equipment, which was from 2002, Karlstrom said.

“I wanted a cab that had a lot of visibility, had wipers, defrost, so you can see the general public and we can be as safe as possible when we’re navigating around these city streets and on the municipal sidewalks,” he said.

Commissioner Stephen Adamini asked if the request for proposal required the bidders to provide a warranty on the equipment.

Karlstrom responded that the equipment will have a “seven year powertrain warranty, along with a two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, which is pretty standard.”

In response, Adamini noted: “Even if (Rosy Brother Inc.) were a conforming bid, the difference is $154.08 and if we got warranty work to be done, I’d rather have it done in Negaunee than Dryden, Michigan.”

Commissioners also asked Karlstrom what would be done with the previous piece of equipment.

Karlstrom responded that it was sold for $6,300 through an online public surplus auction, noting that he started the bid at the equipment’s trade-in value and that it sold for $1,800 more.

The $6,300 from the sale of the previous equipment will go toward the purchase of the new one, Karlstrom said, adding that $15,000 in funding for the new tractor was included in the county’s 2018 public improvement fund.