Round Lake village board trustees Tuesday night rejected approving a one-year contract with the lowest responsible bidder to perform police vehicle maintenance this year.
By a 4-2 vote, the village board declined Mayor James Dietz's recommendation to accept Ingleside Auto and Tire Center's offer to perform expected work on the police cars, SUVs and light pickup trucks.
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Village Attorney Michael Zimmermann said four trustees were required to approve the contract because all previous bids were rejected late last year.
Dietz had pushed for Ingleside Auto and Tire, saying its prices for a potential range of work were an average of 33 percent less expensive than the other best, responsible bidder, A-Tire County Service in Round Lake. Two other companies that sought the work previously were eliminated as finalists.
Based on A-Tire charging Round Lake roughly $30,900 for police vehicle work in the fiscal year that ended April 30, Dietz contended the village would have saved more than $9,100 for the same jobs with the prices offered by Ingleside Auto and Tire.
However, Trustee Greg Clements said at Tuesday night's meeting while the potential savings aren't "chump change," they're not enough to warrant straying from a business across from Round Lake village hall. Clements was among the four trustees to vote against Ingleside Auto and Tire.
"As small businesses disappear in this community, the tax burden shifts to the residents," Clements said. "And we've seen that all over the place."
Before the vote, former trustee Michael Blum asked the elected officials to vote in the best financial interest of residents and approve the one-year contract with Ingleside Auto and Tire. He accused a majority of the six trustees of being biased for A-Tire.
"I would imagine that the last two weeks have been spent behind many a door finding ways to derail (Ingleside Auto and Tire) this evening," Blum said.
After much discussion at an informal committee session two weeks ago, the village board agreed to hold a vote on whether to award the contract to Ingleside Auto and Tire at Tuesday night's meeting.
Police Chief Michael Gillette led the preparation of documents that sought maintenance proposals from the businesses. Gillette received help from Round Lake department heads and other village employees in a detailed process that began last year.
Bidders were solicited from within an 8-mile radius of Round Lake. Dietz said securing fair prices for potential police vehicle service in advance would relieve village staff of trying to find the best deals on a piecemeal basis.
A-Tire was a source of Round Lake government controversy in 2004. In September of that year, Trustee Danette Kohlmeyer resigned after a Daily Herald investigation found she had approved more than $105,000 in village payments to her husband's A-Tire operation from January 2003 to June 2004.
Kohlmeyer spoke during public comment time before Tuesday's vote, asking officials to reconsider awarding the deal to Ingleside Auto and Tire and labeled as "flawed" the village's request for proposals. She said documents she received through a Freedom of Information Act request showed Ingleside Auto and Tire made 10 corrections on its bid without being initialed and that documents were submitted past the village's deadline.
Gillette stood by the village's process and later was supported by Zimmermann. "I suppose fairness is in the eye of the beholder," the village attorney said.
Trustees Donald Newby, Dawn Simoncelli, Susan Triphahn and Clements voted to reject Ingleside Auto and Tire. Trustees Sonia Sandoval and Vickie Wicinski were the dissenters.