BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – Approving bids for the purchase of in-vehicle computers for the Lee County Sheriff’s department was put on hold for at least another two weeks after bids were opened Tuesday morning.
During the county’s regular Tuesday meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, supervisors tabled voting on the bids because they hadn’t been opened yet and a public hearing was required due to the expense being a non-budgeted expense.
According to Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber, the department has budgeted for leasing the equipment over the next three to five years with a minimum $30,000 in each year’s budget.
“We didn’t budget for a lump sump at all. We budgeted for a lease and after we got going on it, you guys recommended that we do a public bidding,” Weber told the board.
Weber said he generated a specification for the bids for a solid-state hard drive, because it would stand up to the rigors of county sheriff vehicles including gravel roads. Weber said Keltek had submitted a bit for $133,933.80 to outfit all the county’s vehicles with the computers including docking systems, printers, and maintenance.
Sheriff’s officials have told supervisors that most of the rest of the state already has the on-board computers and they would save time for deputies, staff, and residents. Chief Deputy Will Conlee said tickets would be an issue of a simple scan of a driver’s license and registration and the citation would be printed out immediately. The citation or accident report would also go directly into the county system which would save staff time entering the records into the system.
“There seems to be a lot of questions on this bid. If you have questions or concerns, get them answered before the next meeting,” said Supervisor Rick Larkin, “I think we should try to have most of the questions answered before we come back so we can make that decision easier.”
After reviewing the bids, supervisors made a motion accepting both bids not to exceed the $133,933.80 and then tabled approving one or the other bid until the public hearing in two weeks. The supervisors will not meet next Tuesday as it’s the fifth Tuesday of the month.
“Once we figure out how much it’s going to be then we need to give the public time to review that and decide if they think that’s worth it,” said Supervisor Gary Folluo.
In other action, the board:
• held a public hearing and voted to amend the 2017-18 fiscal year budget by $515,545 which will take another $391,404 out of the county’s fund balance. Budget Director Cindy Renstrum said jail medical and meals had gone over budget, but she said the department also had $110,000 in additional revenues from other counties for handling inmates from out of the county. She said mental health, conservation, supervisors, and the maintenance budget all had items over the original budget.
• discussed moving forward with a plan to integrate grated shingles from Great River Regional Waste Authority with county rock as a surface treatment to be tested on county intersection and roads.
• approved hiring a part time employee for the conservation for summer help, that was contracted last year. The city’s human resources consultant told the Lee County Conservation District that it would preferable to put an employee on the payroll to help control when that person would be on duty.