Woodstock council approves generator purchase
The Woodstock City Council decided to waive the bid process for the purchase and installation of two additional generators for sanitary sewer lift stations.
In 2011, the city experienced storm damage that left a large portion of the community without electricity, some for five consecutive days.
“During this time, many of the city’s sanitary sewer pump stations were also without electricity, and, for the duration of the outage, public works employees had to work around the clock moving portable generators from one station to another to pump down the wet wells,” a staff report stated.
After this event, Public Works recommended the purchase and installation of four natural-gas-fired, fixed-unit generators to be installed at selected sites within the collection system. The council agreed to that purchase.
An additional two generators were budgeted this year to power the Dorham Lane and Berltsum Drive lift stations. Instead of bidding out the work again, the city decided to go with McHenry-based Ridgeview Electric, who was the lowest bidder in November. Ridgeview Electric agreed to honor the previous bid amount, leading to the council approval of a contract at a cost not to exceed $76,800 for the two generators.
The vote was not unanimous, however.
“This is not an insignificant amount of money to be spending,” said Councilman Dick Ahrens. “With that amount of money, we have a responsibility from a financial standpoint [to bid out the project].”
Ahrens said prices can change drastically in a matter of days, weeks or, in this case, six months.
“This is not an emergency purchase so we can indeed go out to bid,” City Manager Tim Clifton said. He said the city is comfortable with Ridgeview Electric, however, and noted that the contractor has been responsible and punctual when needed for assistance.
“Thus far the city is very pleased with Ridgeview Electric’s performance and quality of work,” the staff report stated.
Ahrens said there would be little risk in going out to bid. While the bid could theoretically come back at a higher price, Ahrens noted Ridgeview Electric upping its bid after promising to offer the previous rate “is not a way for them to win that award.”
Councilman Mike Turner asked how long the delay would be to bid out the project. Public Works Director John Isbell said about two months, possibly more. Turner ultimately voted in favor of the purchase, saying there is value in a relationship.
The final vote was 5-2, with Ahrens and Councilwoman Maureen Larson being the lone votes against the purchase.
Even with the recent addition of two on-site generators, there are still eight locations throughout the city’s collection system that have to be operated using portable generators during power outages.