Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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City feels sticker shock on replacement doors

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[April 17, 2012]  A few weeks ago, city wastewater treatment manager Darrell Palmer asked permission of the Lincoln City Council to go out for bids for some replacement doors at the plant.

At the initial request, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel, co-chair of the sewage and wastewater committee, said Palmer had originally asked for seven new entry doors for various buildings at the plant. However, she had asked him if he could do with fewer, and he narrowed his request down to five.

At last week's committee of the whole, the city clerk, Susan Gehlbach, opened only one bid for the doors. The bid was submitted by Evans Construction in Springfield, and the total amount for the five doors installed came to $11,800.

At that time, it was clear that most of the members of the city council were stunned by the price of the doors, but there was not a great deal of discussion then.

The question was asked if the quote was for entryway doors. City engineer Mark Mathon confirmed the doors were 36-inch exterior doors with automatic closers and locks.

Approval of the bid was on the voting agenda Monday night. Neitzel made the motion to accept the bid, which was seconded by Alderwoman Kathy Horn.

During the discussion Neitzel said she had done some research on the cost of the doors and found the bid was in line with what they should cost. She said she had spoken with a local businessman who had recently purchased one similar door at a cost of $1,500.

Neitzel said the doors being purchased are industrial doors, insulated, with continuous hinges, automatic closers and deadbolt locks.

Alderman Tom O'Donohue asked if she'd gotten a quote for the $1,500.

Neitzel said no; the person she had talked to had purchased a door, was not selling them.

O'Donohue noted there was still a great deal of difference in the bid received and the $1,500 mentioned by the other person. He asked if the additional amount was for installation.

Neitzel reminded O'Donohue that the original estimate before going out for bid was $22,000, but also for seven doors.

O'Donohue said he was not denying this bid was better than the original estimate, but it was still a lot of money.

Alderman David Wilmert asked if the treatment plant really needed all five doors.

Mathon responded to the questions, saying Palmer originally wanted to replace seven doors. The seven had been looked at, and it was determined that two of them could be left up a while longer. Along with the doors, it was indicated that some of the work to be done will involve framing of some of the doors.

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Mayor Keith Snyder asked if the doors were being replaced with "like doors," as in the same basic specifications as what is at the plant now.

Mathon said they were the same. He also noted the doors at the plant now were installed in the early to mid-'70s, so they have had a long life.

Snyder also wondered if the installation of the doors could be done cheaper locally. Mathon said he'd talked to one person who was capable of installing the doors, but that person was not interested in doing the work.

It was also noted the doors are what they are for security purposes. Several high-tech pieces of equipment are kept at the waste treatment plant, and security is an issue.

With that noted, Alderman David Armbrust asked about glass in the doors. Mathon said there are two doors with no glass, and there are three double-set doors with glass.

As the discussion on the doors began to wind down, Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs said she was disappointed in the fact that unless the aldermen read the newspapers, they don't get the full picture of what is being purchased.

Snyder reinforced Tibbs' statement, saying he felt she was saying the aldermen should see copies of the bid specifications before they are advertised.

Within the council, it is common practice for an alderman to hold his or her vote for a few seconds before saying yes. This is their way of saying they are not pleased with the decision they are making, but don't have a good enough reason for voting no.

During the roll call vote, O'Donohue and Armbrust both paused for a significant amount of time before adding their yes vote to the total. The motion passed unanimously with a vote of 8-0. Alderwoman Stacy Bacon and Alderman Buzz Busby were absent for the evening.


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