While the inside of the Ponoka Learning Centre, with the Town of Ponoka occupying the top two floors, will be ready next month, town staff won’t be moving in right away as the furniture order won’t arrive until October. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Furniture tender awarded at special meeting

Ponoka town council approves $140,000 in furniture spending for new town hall space

The space to be occupied by town staff at the new Ponoka Learning Centre will come with a plethora of new furniture.

Town council held a special meeting on July 30 at the Hudson’s Green Nature and Activity Centre to approve the recommended tender — Looker Office Furnishings of Red Deer for $142,92.86.

While the bids closed on July 19, Human Dimensions Licensed Interior Design — who were contracted to handled the bid process — took some time to evaluate the five bids received as not all were comparable. Two bidders were left out — one failed to follow the product dimensions at all in the request while the other was deemed not competitive due to putting in unapproved alternative products.

As explained to council by corporate services director Sandra Lund, the need for the expedited approval is due to the length of time expected for delivery of the furniture and the fact council’s next regular meeting is Aug. 14.

“Even if we approved this right away, we are looking at an October delivery date, so that’s why this meeting was called,” Lund stated.

“As well, because the contract is over $100,000, in accordance with our purchasing policy, we brought this to council for approval.”

Lund noted that no local bids were received even though available companies were specifically invited to be part of the tender.

Aside from the approved bidder, the other bids came from RGO Office Products and Allwest Furnishings, both of Edmonton.

One thing that Looker didn’t put in their bid was a specific type of chair, while the other two evaluated bids included it.

Even with the chair taken out in order to compare the three bids, Looker was still the lowest at (before GST) just under $137,000 while RGO would have been just over $145,000 and Allwest was at more than $156,000. Council had budgeted $200,000 to furnish their second floor offices and the meeting rooms and council chamber on the third floor.

The town will be buying the specific task chairs from RGO for just under $9,500.

Coun. Carla Prediger did ask what items would be taken over and if any new furniture had been bought for the move over to the current town hall.

Lund explained that nearly all furniture was moved over from the now demolished town hall and that items such as keyboard holders, monitor arms and a few office chairs will be moving with people.

Even though town policy states large purchase contracts must have council approval, Mayor Rick Bonnett questioned the need for the meeting, especially since the move-in date was supposed to be this September and the spending for the furniture was already pre-approved in the 2018 budget.

“Being as we are now three weeks delayed, we should have had this out. Now we are going to be paying for the building for a month before we can actually move in,” he said.

Lund did add that there is a lot of other items that can be moved when the building is available that will make the transition much faster.

“There is a lot of stuff we can move, so that when we get the furniture, we can set up and get going,” Lund stated.

With that, Bonnett did request that the policy be brought back to council in the future for discussion.

New deal passed

Two other items were also dealt with at the special meeting.

Council formally approved the contract agreement with its unionized employees, which was ratified by employees earlier in July.

Also, council held a rather lengthy in-camera session that resulted in a motion that will see the town’s land disposition policy and procedure brought to the Aug. 21 committee of the whole meeting for further review.

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