Council says no to high-priced safety featureA proposal to purchase new radios for the Superior Fire Department is on hold while the council ponders the value of a feature designed for safety.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
A proposal to purchase new radios for the Superior Fire Department is on hold while the council ponders the value of a feature designed for safety.
The feature, which Fire Chief Jim Rigstad said would enhance firefighters’ safety, would require the council to accept a higher bid and leave the low bid — submitted by Duluth-Superior Communications — laying on the table.
Last week, the council split 5-5 on a motion to approve the purchase of the radios.
Called a “heartbeat out of range alert,” the feature was required by the request for proposals, and was not a feature included on the radios offered by Duluth-Superior Communications, according to Rigstad.
When the bids came in, the radios offered by Duluth-Superior Communications were deficient, said Councilor Jackie Stenberg, who joined councilors Tom Bridge, Denise McDonald, Bob Finsland and Mike Herrick to favor of the purchase.
Because the 35 radios being considered came with a $26,000 higher price tag than the lowest bid, and would be purchased from a company outside the area, Councilors Dan Olson, Warren Bender, Len Joyal, Mick MacKenzie and Bob Browne voted against the motion, which failed for a lack of majority.
Olson, a proponent of buying local, said he talked to firefighters, and he doesn’t believe the safety feature is essential. After all, the alarm could become an irritant that would just prompt firefighters to turn it off, he said.
Mayor Bruce Hagen voted no on the matter and sent it back to committee for further review.
The committee slated to review the purchase canceled its July meeting before last week’s council meeting. The panel’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Aug. 8.