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Striping Machine Delay Discussed

by Randy Pierce

Due to an ordering misstep, all of the roads and highways in Madison County within its jurisdiction, as opposed to those under the purview of the Illinois Department of Transportation, needing to be restriped this year will not get that attention as originally planned during the warm weather months.

As discussed at a meeting of the county board transportation committee, chaired by Bobby Ross of St. Jacob, earlier this month, there has been not only a delay created by these circumstances but also a substantial increase in the costs involved.

This is because an EZ Liner Model TS-AL240 pavement striping machine approved for purchase by the county board last November was not ordered when it should have been and now, instead of delivery occurring in May, it will be September before that will happen and at a price of close to $20,000 more than previously expected.

When the county’s highway department engineer, Adam Walden, shared the details related to this scenario with the transportation committee, he explained the machine, approved for acquisition at the price of over $219,000 late last year will now come at an expense totaling about $235,000 plus delivery charges which could run as much as $4000.

Not getting the machine until September will cause the “striping season” to be missed, Walden explained. Because the production schedule for the striper, as he learned from a representative of the supplier company, which is based in Orange City, Iowa and also has a location in Montana, is very “tight,” with no leeway to alter it, four months has been added to the time of delivery.

It could be possible to get a similar machine from another provider, Walden said, but the next closest competitor in terms of price would add nearly $100,000 to the cost.

The county purchasing department simply “did not order it when we told them to,” Walden told the transportation committee.

The Madison County Purchasing Department has the responsibility for the procurement of supplies, equipment, services and construction, in accordance with an ordinance outlining its functions and duties, at the lowest responsible cost.

The transportation committee consisting of county board members was not pleased with the outcome of this matter as reported by Walden and when it appeared the discussion might head in the direction of addressing the lapse that had occurred in the purchasing department, it was mentioned that personnel matters, including employee discipline or punitive action, are not to be discussed in public settings, according to the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Walden said he had contacted the EZ Liner company about the internal error at the county level to see if it would be agreeable about not increasing the original price of $219,628 and is waiting for a response in that regard.

The machine currently utilized for this purpose and needing to be replaced, Walden added, is not computer controlled like the one being acquired. In instances where dashed lines of stripes on highways or roads is necessary, he explained, an operator is now required to activate the application of the paint on the pavement by hand controls “on, off, on, off” thusly creating the possibility of lack of uniformity.

When one of the committee members asked Walden if the state agency overseeing its highway system would offer any assistance, he answered, “IDOT won’t help us on anything else.”

The discussion concluded with the committee agreeing to amend the resolution to reflect the new, higher price for the striping machine with this being subject to the final approval of the full county board.

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