Council OKs paving machine purchase

Council  OKs paving  machine purchaseRandy Tattershall of Rayner Equipment Systems gives a presentation on the company’s slurry seal paving machine which the City Council approved of purchasing during its Dec. 19 meeting. — Photo by Laura Austin

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By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Ridgecrest City Council approved the purchase of a $395,000 slurry seal paving machine from Rayner Equipment Systems last month. The item was already approved for the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, and after two lengthy presentations from Rayner and VSS Macropaving, the council settled on Rayner’s bid.

While the city usually opts for the lowest bidder in a request for proposal, the bids were within a few hundred dollars of each other, and Public Works Director Bard Lower said he wanted to bring the matter to council for them to decide.

“This is the closest bid I’ve seen in my 42 years of public works,” said Lower. “Council has had a keen interest so it was decided to bring the item to you.”

The purchase was originally approved to provide equipment that city staff could operate, cutting costs on annual road resurfacing and maintenance. Both bids included cab-over paving trucks that could manage in tight spaces such as cul-de-sacs. Neither truck would be available by the paving season so both bidders also offered a loaner truck for this year’s use.

VSS came in with the lower bid, only $235 less than Rayner’s. The company’s affiliate organization, VSS Emultech, has an office in Bakersfield and has done local roadwork before.

Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Stephens was originally the one who suggested that the city should purchase its own paving machine. She had examined Rayner’s product early on during the process and moved for council to select Rayner’s bid.

Mayor Peggy Breeden questioned why staff members brought the item to the council rather than deciding themselves.

“Can somebody make me understand why we are being asked to make a decision on something most of us probably don’t know much about?” she asked.

Councilmember Mike Mower added that the two trucks were “six of one, half a dozen of the other.”

The council voted 4-1, Breeden opposing, to approve the purchase. The city should be able to begin work using the loaner machine this summer.

The council normally meets the first and third Wednesday of the month, 6 p.m. at City Hall. Council did not meet on Jan. 2 because of the holiday, but will resume its regular meeting schedule on Jan. 16.

For agendas and more information, visit ridgecrest-ca.gov/ridgecrest-city-council.

Story First Published: 2019-01-04