The Crawford County Commission reversed its decision from last week awarding bids for radio equipment after a strange situation involving bid specifications, local vendors and missing pieces.

The Crawford County Commission reversed its decision from last week awarding bids for radio equipment after a strange situation involving bid specifications, local vendors and missing pieces.

The commission had awarded the low bid to Mobilcom Wireless Services, Pittsburg, in the amount of $28,704 for various pieces of radio equipment needed to make the switch to narrowband services. All told, five companies submitted bids, including the two lowest bids, which were from local businesses.

At Friday’s meeting, commissioners discussed information that there was an item that had not been listed on the bid specifications that was necessary for the equipment to work.

The three outside vendors, MobileRadio from Great Bend, Commenco from Kansas City, Mo., and TBS Electronics from Topeka, each included this missing item in their bid specifications, which commissioners said could have accounted for the difference in the bids.

The two local vendors, Mobilcom and Washington Electronics, did not include the component in their bids.

“The issue is they thought they had what we needed,” said Jim Emerson, county counselor. “We dug in and found there was another piece we needed. We’re trying to be fair to everyone without rebidding it, but the only fair way to do it is to open it back up. We have to get the piece anyway.”

Commissioner Linda Grilz expressed frustration at how non-local companies who may not know the county’s business knew that the piece was necessary, yet the local businesses did not include it.

Commissioner Bob Kmiec pointed out that the local companies would likely say they were simply meeting the bid specifications.

Ultimately, the county decided to re-open the bid, and more companies will be sent the revised bid specifications. The new bids will be due back by March 16.
In other action, the county commission approved taking an additional $60,000 loan to pay for costs incurred by the Franklin sewer project. Also, the total cost to Franklin residents each month for sewer access is estimated at $43, which includes the Arma sewer charge.

Commissioner Carl Wood also recommended the purchase of two infrared motion-sensitive cameras, and he hopes that they will be used to catch those who illegally dump trash in the county.

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.