The lone bid received for three SUVs to be used by the Polk County Sheriff's Office was opened at Tuesday's Board of Commissioners meeting. Because it did not meet all of the criteria, however, it was promptly rejected.
Official bid notices called for three 2013 V-8, 4x4 special service vehicles (SSVs) with either the Chevy Tahoe 1500 or Ford Expedition XLT trim packages. A cashier's check or corporate surety bond for at least five percent of the bid amount was required to accompany each bid, but Brost Chevrolet of Crookston did not include this in its submission.
"Essentially, we're going to do the whole thing over, only with state contract specifications coming into play and soliciting quotes rather than using the bidding process," said County Administrator Chuck Whiting. "Clearly, there are the state contract numbers to compare to."
When employing the formal bid process, the five percent bond/cashier's check is a state requirement, he explained. Most items being purchased that have a price tag of under $100,000, though, qualify for the more informal quote process, which involves contacting vendors, usually local, personally to get their price quotes. In this case, local dealerships will be informed of the specifications and prices included in the state contract before making their offers.
"So basically, we'll go knock on the doors of all the dealers in Polk County and say, 'This is what the state bid is. What can you offer to compete with that?'" said Deputy Karl Erickson, who was present along with Deputy Brian Lundeen for the bid opening.
Whiting noted that, even if the quoted price is higher than the state contract, it can be advantageous to go with a local dealer. Because the dealerships that are awarded the state bid tend to be located around the Twin Cities area, those purchases usually require resolving transportation issues, either by paying extra to have the dealers bring vehicles up here or paying several deputies, along with buying gas, to travel down there and get them. Other factors can come into play as well.
"You have to look at the whole quote and what's included in it," County Highway Engineer Richard Sanders added. "If there's not a significant difference in price, it might be better to go local."
Erickson said he would solicit quotes and plans to bring them to the board's Feb. 5 meeting.
Sheriff's office fleet
Erickson and Lundeen presented a 2012 year-end vehicle service report detailing the fleet of 33 vehicles assigned to 30 different locations under the sheriff's office umbrella. The total value of these is approximately $1.35 million. Vehicle statistics, broken down, include:
Page 2 of 2 - • Seven types – Mini van, SUV, unmarked car, patrol car, pickup, mobile morgue, unmarked SUV
• Four makes – Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Dodge
• 10 models – (Ford) Crown Victoria, Explorer, F250 pickup; (Chevy) Trailblazer, pickup, Tahoe, Suburban; (GMC) Sierra; (Dodge) Durango, van
• Models span eight years, from 2005 to 2012
• Mileage on each vehicle as of Dec. 31, 2012 ranges from 12,000 to 123,207, with the three 2012 Tahoes logging the lowest numbers
• The vast majority of vehicles are Crown Victoria squad cars.