County commission discusses bids
By RANDY GONZALES
Ellis County commissioners received a report on purchasing new air packs from Ellis County Rural Fire Director Dick Klaus in Monday's meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.
Three companies turned in bids for 38 self-contained breathing apparatus air packs. The low bid was $165,00 by Conrad Fire Equipment Inc., Olathe. Hays Fire and Rescue Sales & Service LLC was next at $188,000, and the highest bid was from MES Fire, Fremont, Neb., for $207,000.
Firefighters met with two of the companies last week, and their preference was for the air packs from Hays Fire.
"The middle bid is the one they liked," Klaus said.
Klaus told commissioners the air packs from Hays Fire differed from the other two in that they would be new, while the others would be old ones retrofitted to meet specifications.
"This one here, from Hays Fire, they started out here several years ago. They had fire departments call them to tell them what they wanted in air packs," Klaus said. "That's how this one was developed."
The air packs from Hays Fire had advantages over the other ones, Klaus said. They are easier to disconnect air flow; the masks have better visibility; the microphones are better; all of the batteries are in just one location; and the warranty is better.
Weis Fire & Safety Equipment, Salina, inspected the department's air packs and found problems. Klaus contacted the company to find out what exactly those problems were. Once he finds out, he then will report his findings to commissioners.
"These air packs are over 20 years old, probably," Klaus said.
Commissioner Swede Holmgren, who expressed safety concerns with the current air packs, was in favor of tabling the issue until Klaus hears from Weis Fire, and Commissioner Dean Haselhorst was in agreement. Chairwoman Barbara Wasinger was not present.
In other business:
* Public Works Director Mike Graf informed commissioners the county received a grant from Kansas Department of Transportation to assist in the purchase of a digital display traffic speed monitor mounted on a trailer. KDOT will pay 60 percent of the $15,000 cost.
* Graf also told commissioners a KDOT grant will pay $56,000 of the $64,400 it will cost to purchase four digital display signs on trailers. The signs can be used for communication on road projects, road closures and for other uses.
* Commissioners tabled any action on business meals and refreshment policy and meals/mileage reimbursement policy until department heads look at them.
* Commissioners reviewed purchasing and policy procedures.
* Commissioners reviewed a bill passed by the Legislature. If the property tax levy is increased more than the CPI, the increase would have to be published.
* Commissioners received the monthly financial report.
* Commissioners approved a cereal malt beverage license for the Harold L. Dorzweiler Cancer Memorial Fund event at the Ellis County Fairgrounds on Sept. 20 and 21.