Frisco Center bid goes to Weatherford

As much as it hurt them to do so, a triumvirate of Clinton city councilmen voted unanimously Thursday to have Brown’s Floor Covering of Weatherford install new carpet for this city’s showcase meeting place, the Frisco Center.
The reason it was so difficult was that even though Brown’s bid was by far the lowest of four received, the second lowest was from a hometown company, Green’s Carpet of Clinton. But the three councilmen present for the 12 noon special meeting of the Clinton Industrial Authority felt the more than $12,000 difference between first and second was just too much to ignore.
Consequently, the contract for installation of 1,600 “peel and stick”  carpet squares was awarded to the Weatherford firm based on its bid of $43,310.03.
Green’s bid was $55,525.95. Other bids were from Oklahoma City-based firms – $58,100 from Commercial Carpet Contractors and $70,548.30 from retail giant Home Depot.
Following a few minutes of discussion Councilman Bobby Stewart, who had first raised an issue about buying local, remarked, “There’s a significant difference. Based on the figures and the price, I make a motion we go with Brown’s flooring.”
Ernie Dowdell agreed with Stewart that he “would like to use someone from Clinton” but nonetheless seconded the motion.
Because there was such a wide variance in the bids, Mayor David Berrong had led an in-depth discussion among the three councilmen trying to assure they were comparing apples to apples. Also participating were Max McKinsey, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors which oversees upkeep of the Frisco Center, and City Manager Mark Skiles.
After the discussion, the opinions as well as the votes were in unison.
The council’s other two members, Jason Hulin and Chuy Rosales, were not present for the rare noon-time meeting.
Skiles had started the discussion by saying the Frisco Center was constructed in 2005 or ’06 (it was actually 2003) and had experienced 12 years of very heavy traffic which had left the present carpet showing lots of stains. He also indicated the city’s Lodging Tax, which is paid by patrons of the various motels in town and dedicated to upkeep of the Frisco Center, has sufficient funds accumulated to finance new carpeting.
McKinsey said he had a friend from Oklahoma City who’s a carpeting contractor come out and suggest some “parameters” to include in the bid specifications.
One was a tufted weight of 16 or greater, which he said all the bids met.
The worst part of the old carpet is in heavy-traffic areas, it was indicated, including in front of the Chamber office and especially in the restrooms. Apparently looking to the future, McKinsey said use of carpet squares would enable the city to take up old carpet where it’s worst and replace it without redoing the whole building. The old carpet was put down in rolls.
Asked how long this job would take to do, Skiles said he had called the bidders and the absolute minimum was three weeks with a month mentioned by one and even longer by another.
Someone asked what color the new carpet would be; Skiles said it was not in the bid. Dowdell hoped it would be dark.
“All say the same kind of carpet and the same timeline,” surmised Berrong. “So our decision is strictly on price?”
Skiles indicated that was correct.
“Everybody remembers what a diamond the Frisco Center is for western Oklahoma,” he added, implying that it needs to be kept in top condition.
Dowdell said new carpet would make the Center smell like a new building. He also said he’s had Brown do three or four jobs for him and the owner stands by his work.
“He has a lifetime warranty too,” said McKinsey. “A couple of the others have no warranty.”
Stewart’s only concern with taking the low bid was that there would be no recirculation of the money in Clinton.
Berrong said that’s why he wanted an assessment that “this is apples to apples.” And based on the answers, he indicated that in his opinion there was “absolutely no way” the council members could ignore the $12,000 difference between the two leading bids.
Stewart then made his motion to go with Brown Floor Covering and it passed, 3-0.

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