Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

October 21, 2011

Councilman refuses to pay city bills citing purchasing policy violation

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Centerville City Councilman Rob Lind refused to pay the bills during the council meeting Monday night and a former councilman asked why the city's purchasing policy was not being followed.

"The previous council spent a lot of time and a lot of money coming up with a procedure for purchasing," former councilman Kris Koestner said at Monday night's city council meeting at City Hall. "And my question is, 'Why would you just throw it out the window after spending all that time on it?' The reason we came up with that purchasing policy is because of items like this. And we have guidelines in there, so would the city council choose not to follow something we just passed in the last year and a half."

Lind refused to pay the city's bills Monday because one item purchased by the Centerville Street Department from Cossolotto Ready Mix was concrete for more than $176,000. Lind contended it should have gone out to bid.

Street Superintendent Ron Creagan immediately replied, "It did."

"And how was that done?" asked Lind.

"Cossolotto's gave me a bid and so did Ideal Ready Mix and I handed them in to Kim and Kim forwarded them on to you," Creagan said.

Kim Crego, city clerk and commissioner of municipal services, said what she received was not bids but a list of current pricing.

"They were actually bids," Creagan said. "They were the price for the concrete they were going to charge us for this year."

Lind said he talked to Ideal Ready Mix and if they knew they would be bidding on such a large concrete amount they would have given a different price. Lind said Ideal's going rate per yard would have been lower.

Lind was also upset the concrete was purchased from Cossolotto, a business located outside the city limits and not from Ideal, a business located inside the city limits. Lind said the purchasing policy states preference will be given to businesses located inside the city limits.

"They being a business in the city limits and paying city taxes we owe it to (Ideal) to give them more consideration," Lind said. "If they would have known they would have been selling this amount right here they would have given even more consideration on pricing."

Creagan said he saved the city $16,000 by going through Cossolotto Ready Mix. Creagan said there was a $7 per yard difference between the two concrete companies.

Richard Squires, Ideal Ready Mix plant manager, said he employs nine, uses 10,000 gallon of water per day and the last electricity bill he paid was for $14,000 for one month. He said they do everything they can locally.

Squires said Ideal is Iowa Department of Transportation certified so their product costs more.

"I don't know what else to say, but I'll bid dollar to dollar against them," Squires said.

Lind vowed to have the issue placed on the next council agenda. Lind proposed Centerville Street Department purchases for the next year more than $1,000 would need council approval.