MARSHALL - The process of finding a contractor to relocate trees being removed from around Marshall's flood protection dike sparked more discussion at a city council meeting on Tuesday. Council members voted to approve a local business' quote for the work but only provided "irregularities" in the proposal were addressed.
Tuesday's discussion continued issues brought up at a previous council meeting. Marshall has been directed by the Army Corps of Engineers to remove trees and vegetation growing on or around the city's dike system. Two local businesses had been awarded bids to remove vegetation and relocate smaller trees, but the business awarded the bid to relocate trees protested the arrangement. The council voted to void that contract and get new proposals.
Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the city had received three proposals for tree relocation, with Scott's Tree Service proposing the lowest rates. However, Martig said, that proposal was in a different form than the other two. Part of the reason for the difference, he said, was that the city engineering department had started requesting quotes for tree relocation before an amended request for proposals was released.
Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson said the city had the right to waive "irregularities" in the proposal. But if the council wanted to award the project to Scott's Tree Service, Simpson said, it needed to formally find each of the irregularities not material to the proposal. Those irregularities included the fact that the proposal didn't use the same specifications as the city bid form, that it wasn't signed, and that it said the business would not be responsible for damage or track marks on the dike.
Simpson said the city had other options, too. They could accept the next best proposal, reject all of the proposals and rebid, or table the issue until the next council meeting. However, he cautioned, "Time is of the essence." The tree removal needs to happen before the ground freezes.
If the city had asked Scott's Tree Service to provide a quote instead of a formal proposal, said council member Charlie Sanow, then the business did what was asked of it. However, other council members had reservations about accepting the quote.
A motion by council member Mike Boedigheimer to reject the proposal from Scott's Tree Service and go with the next lowest proposal failed 4-3. Council members Sanow, Jennie Hulsizer, Larry Doom and Bob Byrnes voted against the motion.
Sanow moved that the council find the irregularities in the proposal not material and accept the proposal, provided they agree to the city's project specifications. That motion passed 6-1, with Boedigheimer voting against it.