Mayor Vetoes City Board's Action to Award Bid on Sprinkler System at Golf Course

November 1, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Board of Aldermen last month voted 3 to 2 to award a bid on the installation of an irrigation system for the fairways at the Smithville Golf Course to Oasis Irrigation for $213,716, the lowest of the four bids submitted.

Since then, Mayor Taft Hendrixson has cast a veto of the board's decision based on an opinion of City Attorney John Pryor.

In the letter to Mayor Hendrixson dated October 25th, Pryor wrote that " At the Monday, October 15th, 2007 City Council Meeting, the Board of Aldermen voted to accept a bid on the installation of a sprinkler system at the golf course. This could potentially create two problems that I see."

"First, the Municipal Purchasing Law of 1983 as codified in (state law) requires that all purchases made shall be within the limits of the approved budget for the department which the purchase is made. My review of the budget does not reveal such funds being appropriated for such a purchase. This could be fixed by amending the budget, which should occur before the approval of the purchase."

"Second, as pointed out by Brian Burns with Rainbird, the bid package required specific parts and or equipment and did not include language that would allow equivalent equipment or parts. Again, the Municipal Purchasing Law of 1983 as codified in (state law) requires purchases to be made only after competitive bids. My concern is our bid may have been too exclusive."

"As a result of the potential problems before the City on this matter, my advice to you is to veto said decision of City Council until such time as we can amend the budget for such an expenditure and put out a fair bid package. Furthermore, I believe your veto should come before the meeting Monday, October 29th, 2007 to comply with your veto powers as set out in the Smithville Charter."

"I consulted with Don Darden of MTAS and he agreed with me as to these potential problems."

Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins' Sr. voted in favor of awarding the bid to Oasis irrigation last month but Aldermen Cecil Burger and Steve White voted against it.

Burger said "I'm not against golf. It's necessary for the community, but are we going to do something for the rest of the community for recreation? Are we going to spend that much money for our people that don't play golf? We've got people all over the city and county that begs for recreation of other kinds."

White said he felt like the city was breaking the terms of it's own lease agreement with the tenant of the golf course, Jimmy Lewis, by funding this project. " I feel like this would be a breach of the contract on the city's part because we entered into a contract with Jimmy and he's supposed to be installing it (irrigation system) himself"

Alderman Sullivan said "I think he's provided enough information that shows that he has spent the amount of money that was agreed upon in his contract."

The city recently voted 4 to 1 to accept bids on the irrigation system and take half of Lewis' rent to pay for it over time. Lewis will continue to pay his monthly rent of $2,500 per month with half going to the general fund and half going to the city to pay the debt of the irrigation system. Alderman White voted against it, saying he felt like the city should stick to the terms of the current agreement with Lewis.

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