Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 4, 2013

Take two: County awards vehicle contract

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — It took two tries, but Grand Traverse County awarded a sheriff’s vehicle maintenance contract worth tens of thousands of dollars annually to a local company.

County commissioners unanimously voted in a committee meeting this week to award the contract for vehicle maintenance and oil changes to the South Airport Road business TC Fleet Repair.

“I’m very pleased,” TC Fleet Repair owner Mark Grist said. “I think we can save the county a lot of money.”

Board members initially voted this summer to award the vehicle maintenance contract to D&W Auto, a business that has worked with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department for years. But Grist raised questions about that decision because D&W’s low bid was submitted to the county after a deadline for accepting bids.

County officials decided to redo the process and sent out a second request for bids in July.

TC Fleet Repair lowered its hourly rate charge by $10, according to county documents.

Grist said he lowered the rate to be more in line with what the county sought. He also said his business could afford it.

“We looked at the numbers and felt we could come down to that because of the volume of work we were going to see,” Grist said.

D&W lowered its hourly rate by $2 and its oil change cost by about $3. D&W’s prices for hourly rates and oil changes were each $1 less than TC Fleet Repair’s in the second bid.

D&W owner Wayne Moody said he respected the board’s vote to go with TC Fleet Repair, even though their bid was slightly higher.

“In business, doors open and doors shut,” Moody said. “We have no problem with it.”

Undersheriff Nathan Alger said sheriff’s officials recommended TC Fleet Repair to the county board because they wanted to try a new vendor after years of working with D&W.

The contract covers one year with an option for a two-year renewal.

The sheriff’s department spent nearly $79,000 on vehicle maintenance in 2012, Alger said.

Commissioner Larry Inman said he’s glad the county rebid the contract. It resolved issues about how the first bid was done, and it resulted in lower prices, he said.

“I was glad we went out and redid the whole process,” Inman said. “Everybody had a chance to redo their numbers, which is often a benefit to the county.”