EDMORE — Cold weather is rapidly approaching, but the issue of snowplowing is a heated one in this village.
The Edmore Village Council was at odds at Monday night’s meeting over which company to hire for snowplowing services this winter, as well as lawn mowing services next spring and summer.
Village Manager Neil Rankin recommended the council award a contract to Johnsons Seasonal Care in Edmore to snowplow the village parking lots outside of Lucky’s bar and Phenix bar. Moore’s Landscaping in Edmore also submitted a bid with a similar price.
Village President Chet Guild wanted to accept Moore’s bid instead, noting Moore’s has done the village’s snowplowing for years.
“The one issue we’ve had with Moore’s Landscaping in the past was when we (the village) did not plow, but John Moore and Moore’s Landscaping had plowed,” Rankin said. “Either he was plowing when we weren’t plowing or not plowing when it had to be plowed.
“You know why he did that? Because nobody’s ever told him that you don’t plow unless there’s 2 inches (of snow),” said Councilman Chuck Burr. “If you don’t tell him … you gotta tell these guys that.”
“He should have known that,” Rankin responded. “The other thing is, we’ve had an issue trying to get a hold of Moore’s Landscaping in the past. On his statements, he doesn’t have a phone number. When Johnsons has done lawnmowing for us, they have always given us accurate billing and they always provide us with a certificate of liability so we know they are an insured business.”
“What are you saying, that Moore’s doesn’t have liability insurance?” Guild asked.
“I’m not sure, I never got a copy of it,” Rankin replied.
“Was he ever asked for a copy?” Guild asked.
“He should provide a copy as a business,” Rankin replied.
“Well, like Chuck said, if you don’t explain what you expect out of them, how are they gonna know?” Guild retorted.
Finance Director Tracy Clark noted that Moore’s was also asked to plow in front of the village police department’s garage door in the past, but failed to do so.
A motion to award the contract to Johnsons failed 3-3 with Bonnie Ashbaugh, Jerry Rasmussen and Art Schuitema voting “yes” and Ed Adams, Burr and Guild voting “no.”
Councilwoman Karen Deja abstained from voting, saying she wanted more information.
“I would like to see what Mr. Moore has available and whether things are spelled out in a contract and I would also like to see if he has liability,” Deja said.
“So the contract goes to Moore?” asked Guild after the motion to award the contract to Johnsons died.
Rankin informed him no, the issue will be discussed again at next month’s meeting.
A related item on the table was whether to award a bid to Johnsons for mowing the lawns at Curtis Park, the Curtis Building, the ballfields and the Sunrise property. Johnsons was the lone company to submit a bid. Guild made a motion to table the issue until next spring so more bids could be submitted.
The motion to table the item was approved 4-3 with Adams, Burr, Guild and Rasmussen voting “yes” and Ashbaugh, Deja and Schuitma voting “no.”
Another related item on the table was whether to award a bid to Johnsons for mowing the lawn at the old bag factory/farmers market. The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) recommended the council award the bid to Johnsons.
“Personally, again, I think we should take some bids on that too,” Guild said. “We pay the bill.”
Guild was informed the DDA pays the bill, not the council.
“Then why do they even come to us?” Guild asked.
Guild was informed that by law the council has to vote on DDA recommendations.
A motion to award the DDA lawnmowing bid to Johnsons was approved 4-3, with Ashbaugh, Deja, Rasmussen and Schuitema voting “yes” and Adams, Burr and Guild voting “no.”
At Monday’s meeting, the village council also:
• Approved offering Averyville Acres two loan payment options to repay a loan over 15 years. Rankin will write a letter to Averyville Acres with the details.
• Heard Rankin report the village will host a planning workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today (Saturday).
• Approved sending $150 to the Road Commission for Montcalm County to move forward with a street in the Sunrise development. Construction will probably start next summer.
• Set trick or treating hours from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.
• Tabled a proposed $1 wage increase for Department of Public Works employee Andrew Anderson and referred the proposal to the Personnel Committee. Schuitema voted “no.”
• Approved decomissioning and selling a village police car to Aaron Evans of Casair for $1,400. The Kelly Blue Book value is $2,000 to $2,300, but Rankin noted the car has 54,000 miles on it, there are holes in the plastic seat and there are electrical problems in the car.
• Approved activating a gas card account at both the Admiral and The Depot.