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Vice Mayor Dee Marshall opened up Monday’s meeting with an open forum with no comments, which was followed with two study items. The items focused on bids for police department vehicles and the 2022 waterline replacement project. 

For 2022, the city budgeted $85,500 in the Capital Improvement Fund for one Ford Explorer Interceptor and one Ford F-150 Police Responder for the Abilene Police Department. City staff sought out bids from two vendors — Valor Automotive and a state contract. 

Valor Automotive out of Junction City bid $40,090 with $16,590 trade allowance for the 2022 Explorer Interceptor and $48,130 with $21,720 trade allowance for the 2022 Ford F-150 Police Response Vehicle. The state contract and Shawnee Mission Ford bid $33,430 for the 2022 response vehicle and no bid for the interceptor. 

In Assistant Chief of Police Jason Wilkins' report about the bids, he informed that currently the State of Kansas does not award bids for 2022 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Vehicles. 

Addition to the new vehicles, the city received a bid from KA-Comm for the installation of police equipment in both cars for $15,954.06.  

Staff recommend the commissioners approve the purchase with Valor Automotive due to the trade allowance, which provided a bid lower than the State of Kansas contract through Shawnee Mission Ford. 

“It is my recommendation that we accept the price quote provided by Valor Automotive for both vehicles,” Wilkins said in his report. “Our department has purchased several fleet vehicles from Valor Automotive in the past and have been provided with a seamless customer service experience during all acquisitions. In addition, I feel Valor has provided a competitive quote with guaranteed trade-in figures.”

The city puts the total estimated cost of the purchase at $65,854.06. 

Marshall questioned Wilkins about the city’s ability to purchase the vehicles and the installation from local businesses. Wilkins clarified that currently that is not an option currently and the city already has a good history working with both companies. 

Commissioner Trevor Witt asked for clarification about one vehicle switching from a Ford Explorer to a Ford F-150.

“This isn’t something where we look to change our whole fleet to trucks,” Wilkins said. “We are very happy with the Ford Explorers except for a while we identified a need to add a truck to our fleet. Specifically on a couple sides of the house, from an investigative standpoint, evidence was transported both from a scene and back to the police department. When it comes to destroying the evidence, we have been relying on for quite some time employees to use their personally owned vehicle…Community projects since Chief Hatter has come on board there has been a big push for use to get out in the community.”

Wilkins used the National Night Out event, held during the summer, as a reason for the truck due to transporting equipment for community events. 

Next on the study items, Public Works Director Lon Schrader identified a need in the city’s water supply system. For 2022, the Public Works staff found several areas that need attention whether it connects to previous water main improvements and/or pipe conditions deteriorating in line. During the meeting, Schrader gave a list of the projects and their locations. The department unified all the mini areas into one set, which created a “fairly substantial” project. Bid invitations were sent out to five utility contractors in the area and the city received two bids from J-K Contracting of Junction City & Larsen Construction of Manhattan. 

J-K Contracting bid $85,746.10 for the labor and Larsen gave a $109,373.40 bid. With the city purchasing all the materials, the department estimates a supply cost of $76,300. Overall, the project will cost $162,000 and $72,000 funds from the Water Distribution CIP & ARPA used to help pay for the bill. 


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