Aldermen stall ambulance decision|
|The city of Antigo’s Finance, Personnel & Legislative Committee declined Wednesday to reconsider purchase of a new ambulance, leaving the matter in the hands of the full Common Council for its meeting next month.|
The five-member committee rebuffed a proposal by Mayor Bill Brandt to offer a substitute resolution, in the event his veto of the ambulance purchase is withheld by the council on Aug. 13, to buy the locally-sold PL Custom unit.
“If the committee chooses, we can do nothing and let the bids expire and we start over,” Brandt said. “If you want to wait, that’s fine with me.”
Last week, the Council vote 7-1 to purchase a Horton ambulance from Sterling, Ill.-based Foster Coach Sales, rejecting attempts to buy a similar, but not identical, PL Custom unit from Pomasl Fire Equipment Inc. of Antigo.
Pomasl’s bid was $175,896, $66 more than the Foster Coach Sales.
Hours later, Brandt vetoed the council’s action. It would require a six vote majority of aldermen to overturn the mayor’s decision.
“The veto is not something I did on the spur of the moment,” Brandt said. “A lot of thought went into it.”
In announcing his veto, Brandt urged residents of the city to contact aldermen and voice their opinion on whether the low bid for the ambulance should be accepted or whether preference should be given to the local business.
Reinhardt Balcerzak, a member of the committee, noted that he did receive two calls, both in support of accepting the low bid. And he stressed that a fire department employee committee who test drove both ambulances recommended the Horton equipment.
“They are the ones who are using it, I’m not,” Balcerzak said.
Brandt said an employee recommendation shouldn’t automatically guarantee a purchase, since their job is different from that of the aldermen, who should act as overseers.
“You are elected by the people and your job is to look at what is most advantageous to the city overall,” Brandt said.
Alderman Glenn Bugni, who is not a member of the Finance, Personnel & Legislative Committee, said he made a mistake in voting to purchase the ambulance from the out-of-town vendor and that calls he had received were in favor of the local purchase.
“They pay taxes,” he said.
Alderman Phil Beck agreed.
“We need to look at what our responsibility is in regards to the local taxpayers,” he said.
With the committee decision not to offer a substitute resolution, the ambulance purchase will likely need to be rebid if the veto is upheld.
“It might be more fair to have it re-bid,” committee member Tom Bauknecht said. “It shouldn’t go to the second bidder by default.”
“I think we should re-bid,” Joe Kapusta added.
At last week’s council meeting, Beck, supported initially by Bugni and Alderman Dan Bauknecht, said the sale should go to the local firm. But Beck’s motion to amend the resolution failed on a 3-5 vote and the original motion to purchase the Horton unit was inked 7-1.
The PL Custom ambulance has a three-year, instead of two-year warranty, while the Horton ambulance features rear airbags. The city already has two Horton units.
Alderman Reinhardt Balcerzak makes a point at Wednesday’s Finance, Personnel & Legislative Committee meeting.
Material on this web site has a
copyright by Antigo Daily Journal.
All rights reserved.