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Supervisors Approve Fuel Bid With Reservations

By Staff | Jun 10, 2008

The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors approved fuel bids for the next year during its weekly meeting on June 3. Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz presented the bid tabulations for the Secondary Road Department’s yearly supply of gasohol, number one and number two diesel fuel supplies.

“We had four bidders this year for our fuels, and for the first time since I’ve been here, we will be recommending a split contract,” Fantz explained.

Fantz noted that for this year’s bids, fuel pricing was determined by using the “rack” price from petroleum terminals in Des Moines. A base bid price of $2.87 a gallon for gasohol, $3.5598 per gallon for number one diesel and $3.4988 per gallon for number two diesel were in place, and the various bidders submitted their margins over the rack price as the basis for their bids.

According to Fantz, the fuel supplies for the Emmetsburg, Graettinger and Ruthven maintenance sheds, as well as the Palo Alto County Conservation Board, were won by Green Plains Grain Co., LLC, based in Everly, who submitted a margin of 0.0950 over the rack price for the four locations.

Ruthven Coop Oil Co won the fuel supplies for the Ayrshire, Mallard and West Bend maintenance sheds. The margin submitted by Ruthven Coop Oil was 0.1050 for diesel fuels and 0.1570 for gasohol.

Since the county does not own fuel tanks in Cylinder, it utilizes the tanks at the State Line Cooperative location. Star Energy of Manson got that bid, with margins of 0.1343 for gasohol, 0.1600 for number one diesel and 0.1453 for number two diesel, and a margin of 0.1550 for winter blended diesel fuel.

Total bid prices were $474,878.46 for Green Plains Grain Co. LLC; $117,581.26 for Ruthven Coop Oil and $87,995.40 for Star Energy. MaxYield Cooperative also submitted bids for fuel during the process.

As the supervisors reviewed the bid tabulations, a discussion ensued.

“I’d sure like to keep this fuel bid in the county,” noted Supervisor Ed Noonan.

“I agree,” spoke up Supervisor Jerry Hofstad. “I think it’d be better to keep it in the county.”

“My recommendation would be if you wanted to look at just in-county fuel suppliers, you could give those folks a built-in advantage, say one percent, sort of like we did when we bid pickups a couple of years ago,” Fantz said. “But, you do have the power to reject any or all bids, but you could have a bid protest, or even lose a potential bidder down the road.”

“Well, I guess I’d say go with these bids now, but next year, look at a one percent incentive for local bidders,” Noonan said.

“I’d agree with that,” Hofstad said. “It was bid fair and fair is fair, but I’d still like to see it stay in the county.”

“We almost have to take these bids this time,” agreed Supervisor Ron Graettinger.

“I’d like to stay in county, too,” agreed Supervisor Keith Wirtz, to which Hofstad added, “we all agree on that.”

Hofstad then moved to accept the bids of Green Plains, Ruthven Coop Oil and Star Energy for the Secondary Road Department fuel contracts. Noonan offered a second and the motion was approved unanimously.

In other road-related matters, Fantz submitted a contract with the Kirk and Michael Company for inspection of all 128 of the county’s bridges. The contract was in the amount of $30,000. Fantz noted that the firm would begin the inspection process in August, with a priority given to the inspections of the 26 fracture-critical bridges in the county’s inventory. The contract was approved unanimously.

Fantz also reported that in regards to questions on Drainage District 21, the culvert along the stretch being questioned had been checked last fall, and road workers found a foot to a foot and a half of silt in the culvert itself.

“The thing you notice about that district is that it is fairly flat, and the flow is pretty slow and sluggish,” Fantz said. “There just isn’t a lot of grade out there. But, my assessment is that you’d be looking at an improvement to that district, rather than a cleanout.”

Fantz also presented an overhead construction permit for Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative to erect overhead lines along 500 Street, Crossing 520 Avenue, in West Bend Township Section 35 and Ellington Township Section 25. The permit was approved without comment.