Shenandoah City Hall

(Shenandoah) – Buy local—that’s the message Shenandoah Mayor Dick Hunt is sending on the purchase of equipment for city departments.

During the Shenandoah City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Hunt expressed his displeasure over the purchase of lawnmowers for the city’s parks and recreation, water and street departments from an out-of-town vendor. At its last meeting in late June, the council authorized the city clerk to write a check to Dickel Duit of Red Oak for $23,584 for the purchase of two Ferris mowers. At that time, Hunt indicated he may reject the council’s vote because there were no local bidders for the equipment.

“If you’ll remember the last meeting, I said there was two things I could do,” said Hunt. “I could either veto it, or I could not sign it—and it goes into law. Well, when I got here the next day, I couldn’t veto it, because the mowers were already here, and they’ve been using them for quite a while. So, that didn’t make me real happy. But, I won’t be signing it (the resolution). It will go into law, anyway. That’s what you guys made.”

While saying the city has done business with three local companies—Vetter Equipment, Rolling Hills and Lawn World—in the past, Hunt says the council needs to see equipment bids in the future in order to make decisions.

“I just don’t think it’s right that we would purchase mowers without a bid in front of the council,” said Hunt, “when the others haven’t had a chance to bid on them.”

Though the bid approved last month was under the amount budgeted for the mowers, Councilwoman Toni Graham says the council should have seen bids.

“It’s so much easier as a council person to make a call,” said Graham, “like, we don’t want to do spend that much, because you can get the same machine here for a thousand dollars less—if they were all apples to apples machines. So, I think anything we purchase should have a bid on it over that type of money.”

Councilman Jon Eric Brantner says he appreciates receiving information on purchases in council members’ packets. Brantner says the lawnmower vote felt more like a formality. For his part, City Administrator A. J. Lyman says the entire episode was an odd occurrence—since the equipment arrived before it was paid for.

“When we budgeted for this stuff back in January,” said Lyman. “It was on the budget worksheets, as you’ll recall. Each of these departments that got lawnmowers had plans in their line items. They had already reached out to those vendors to find out what they were going to cost. So, I think the fact that the vendors assumed the check was in the mail, basically they delivered them ahead of time, because they had already ordered the stock.”

Lyman, however, added it was an occurrence that he hopes “never happens again.” Hunt, meanwhile, added that two department heads indicated that while they liked the Ferris mowers, in the future, they will obtain quotes and test mowers from all three local vendors, to ensure each has the same opportunity. The mayor says the city will set up demonstrations with each company.

In other business Tuesday night, the council…

---unanimously approved Seth Nelson and Kenneth Damrau as volunteer firefighters.

---approved Hunt, Lyman and City Clerk/Treasurer Karla Gray to execute all documents relating to the USDA Rural Development loan and/or grant application for the wastewater treatment plant project.

---awarded the contract for taxilane construction at Shenandoah Regional Airport to Jensen Builders of Fort Dodge totaling $78,970, and the contract for a 4-unit hangar building to Henningsen Construction of Atlantic totaling $255,362.

---approved the purchase of a 2020 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD Work Truck from Doug Meyer Chevrolet for $33,990 for the city’s wastewater department.

---set a public hearing for July 28th at 6 p.m. on the sale of lot 5 in the Rankin Country Club to Marcia Volker and Paul and Deanna Berning, and the sale of lot 14 in the May Addition to Brent and Leslie Ehlers, and Paul and Connie Anderson for $1,000.

---approved a request from the Shenandoah Rotary Club to adopt nodes along Sheridan Avenue as a community project.

---approved the rate/salary for full time street department employee Trent Tillman for $19.15 per hour.

---approved the rate/salary for seasonal cemetery department employee Dustin Simmons for $7.25 per hour.