By Travis Gulbrandson
The Vermillion City Council approved the purchase of a new baler and conveyor for the landfill at its regular meeting last week.
The council accepted a bid from Recovery Systems Co. Inc. (RSC) to purchase a Harris baler and a Hustler conveyor, along with a maintenance service agreement, for the amount of $994,999.
City Engineer José Dominguez said the city will receive $953,000 as a replacement cost from its insurance company, resulting from a fire at the Vermillion Sanitary Landfill last October, and will make up the rest itself.
“This project was not budgeted for in 2013 as the fire had not yet taken place,” Dominguez said. “The money collected from the insurance company will be used to cover the cost of the project. The acquisition of the baler will be adjusted for during this year’s budget revision process in September.”
It is estimated that the budget will have to be revised by $41,000 in addition to the $953,000 from the insurance company, Dominguez added.
The specifications for the new equipment were written to ensure that the machines purchased had been proven in the field.
“One of the ways that this was done was by having equipment from acceptable manufacturers,” Dominguez said. “The city compiled a list of five acceptable balers and two acceptable conveyors. If a vendor wanted to propose equipment from a different manufacturer, the vendor would have had to contact the city or consultant for prior approval.”
Bids were opened for the project on May 21, and the city sent requests for bids to five vendors, ultimately receiving three bids from two vendors.
Although the low bid – which was in the amount of $906,830.71 from IBC – had an approved baler, the conveyor was not on the approved list.
“The vendor never received an approval to utilize the conveyor in the bid,” Dominguez said. “Furthermore, the conveyor is from a less well-known manufacturer and does not meet critical items of the required specifications.”
By contrast, the bids from RSC both had balers and conveyors from the approved list, and also met all the critical specifications.
The city council members unanimously approved the purchases.
The landfill’s baler building caught fire last October, leading to the loss of items including the baler, conveyor and a truck.
In meetings last November, the city council replaced a wheel loader that was lost, as well as fire department gear that was damaged during the blaze.
The cause of the fire was undetermined following inspections from five investigators.