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Commission bypasses low bid on heat
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County Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg turned to American poet Carl Sandburg to argue in favor of accepting a low bid on a county project when the Barton County Commission met Monday, but Sandburg did not carry the day.
He quoted Sandburg who said, “If we had a little ham we could have some ham and eggs if we had some eggs,” referring to the “if” issue of accepting bids and then not accepting the low one.
What he was referring to were bids that had been accepted for heating and air conditioning for the Barton County Health Department facility.
The low bid was $27,942 from Stueder Contractors, Great Bend, however that first bid did not take into account work that would have to be done to the building’s roof once the old units were removed, so Stueder added $2,000 to its bid for a total of $29,942.
The next bid was from Moeder Plumbing, Great Bend, for $31,379.
Kruckenberg moved that the low bid be accepted and that was seconded by Commissioner John Edmonds.  “A bid’s a bid and we ought to take the low bid,” Kruckenberg said. However the other three commissioners did not support that motion.
Commissioner Kenny Schremmer moved that the higher bid from Moeder Plumbing be accepted and that motion was passed with Kruckenberg voting in opposition. It was suggested that the Moeder presentation included more information about the roofing and Schremmer suggested Moeder’s plan had better placement for air intakes.
According to County Administrator Richard Boeckman, action on the system came just in time.
When temperatures dropped last week, the heat was turned back on in the health department and there was an odor that was checked out. The gas company, Boeckman reported, “red tagged” the heating equipment because it was unsafe.
Also Monday, the commissioners approved a bid from Morris Electric, Great Bend, for an air-cooled back up generator for the health department at a cost of $6,252.37.