Polk County saves $17,000 on furniture bid for DSS building

Published 8:55 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

The final approved bid for furniture to fill the new Polk  County Department of Social Services (DSS) building came in $17,000 under the $100,000 budgeted.
Christal Bostian, an associate with ADW Architectural Firm, recommended the Polk County Board of Commissioners approve a bid of just over $83,000 from MacThrift Office Furniture.
“We evaluated the packages very closely and eliminated where we thought we could do better,” Bostian said. “That’s where the real savings came in.”
Bostian said there were a few items where the lowest bid did not serve as the best choice.  She said MacThrift did come in higher on desk options but the difference in price came from an increase in privacy and functionality.
She said DSS supervisors had asked that the desk components be neither right-handed nor left-handed so they could be moved or rearranged easily. They also asked for integral wire management components and privacy end panels because of the sensitive nature of the work most employees would be doing on a day-to-day basis.
County Manager Ryan Whitson said an additional $4,120 in furniture – folding tables and chairs – must still be purchased through Sam’s Club.
This would bring the total cost of furniture for the DSS building up to $87,000. But Whitson said the county would recoup $5,000 in sales taxes.
Commissioner Tom Pack was not in favor of the amount of the purchase.
He said he could not vote to spend $87,000 for furniture when the county had not given its employees raises and had “dinged them on benefits.”
McDermott said Pack was not even comparing apples and oranges with his statement.
“We have a DSS building that was in horrendous disrepair for years and years and years,” McDermott said. “And we have finally come together to build a practical and useful building for it. If you go over to the current office you’ll see, too, that the furniture there is useless…. To say that we shouldn’t buy decent furniture for the new DSS building until employees get raises is unreasonable.”
Pack said McDermott had put words in his mouth.
“I did not say I wouldn’t vote for new furniture, just not $87,000 of furniture,” Pack said.
McDermott motioned to accept the recommendation with commissioner Cindy Walker seconding. The vote ended three to two with Pack and commissioner Ted Owens voting against the furniture purchase.
Purchasing the furniture was the last big decision that needed to be made in preparation for what Whitson said should be an October move in date for the new DSS location.

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