This article is brought to you by The Bryan Times
By Lucas Bechtol Ibechtol@bryantimes.com
May 16, 2022
Edon Mayor Duane Thiel, left, and Councilman Lee Lawrence said they wanted to accept the more expensive of two bids for playground equipment because the cheaper one didn’t include as much equipment and didn’t really meet their specifications.
Photo by Lucas Bechtol
EDON — Walz Park is in line for new playground equipment after a successful fundraising effort.
The fundraising effort started in June and raised $150,000 for new, wooden playground equipment. The village put the equipment up for bid and Cedar Works received the bid for approximately $106,000.
After Monday’s village council meeting, Fiscal Officer Heidi Bidwell said that price doesn’t include a pad they need to lay down, which the village will purchase outright for less than $50,000. Any money left over from the fundraiser will go into phase two of the project, which will include equipment accessible to people of all abilities.
Cedar Works was actually the more expensive option, Village Administrator Chad Ordway said.
“You get what you pay for,” Ordway said. “There’s very little equipment with the $80,000 bid. The other one had a full slate.”
Because of this lack of equipment, Councilman Lee Lawrence said the cheaper bid didn’t really meet all the guidelines.
Mayor Duane Thiel said the less expensive bid only included a couple swings, a slide and a merry-go-round.
If the village purchased the same amount of equipment from the other bidder, that would have increased the price, leading him to say there wasn’t really much of a difference between the two, price wise.
In order to get the price guaranteed and get the equipment sooner, council moved to suspend the rules, but that motion failed when Councilman Austin Thiel voted against it. Council needs five votes to suspend the rules, but Councilman Brook Morris was absent Monday, meaning every councilman present had to vote in favor.
Councilman Lee Lawrence took this as “playing a game” in response to his vote against suspending the rules of another ordinance, putting a village-owned backhoe up for sale by sealed bid.
“I don’t understand why we’d deprive our children, but if we’re all going to play the game, we’ll play the game, let’s get ‘er done,” Lawrence said.
The motion on the backhoe again failed as Austin Thiel voted against it.
A second motion to suspend the rules on the park project was made and passed. Austin Thiel said after the meeting he thought he initially voted against a different ordinance.
Separately, the council approved amending appropriations in order to move the money for the playground equipment from a bank account into the general fund to actually purchase the equipment. In other business, council: • Went into executive session to discuss personnel compensation. • Had a third and final reading on an ordinance that would increase sewer rates by $1.25 each year over the next five years. This sewer increase will help the village in applying for grants to build a new sewer plant. • Had the first reading of a previously mentioned ordinance to put a village-owned backhoe up for sale.