A decision to enter a year-long contract with a private company to maintain and repair Gresham Fire and Emergency Services' fleet was met with debate and a split vote of approval during Gresham City Council's meeting Tuesday evening, May 2.
With three councilors present, as well as Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, the decision to award the time and materials bid to Hughes Fire Equipment Inc. passed in a 3-1 vote, with Bemis casting the sole dissenting vote.
"I have some real concerns over some red flags on this deal," Bemis said during the meeting. "I have no issues doing any of this — I just don't like surprises."
Gresham's fleet of vehicles, which includes the fire equipment, has operated out of the Public Safety and Schools (PSS) facility since 1982. Because of the substantial growth of the fleet and structural and space concerns, however, there is a proposal to move repair operations to the County Yeon Facility at Southeast 190th Street and Northwest Division Street. The decision to officially move the operations will go before council at a future meeting.
To free up some of the fleet staff's resources to support the potential move, the city sought out an outside service provider to meet the most critical fleet apparatus needs, specifically the 18 pieces of heavy fire equipment. Hughes, a Springfield-based company that specializes in repair and service, was chosen for the contract.
"We looked at other potential providers, but they told us they didn't have the capacity or ability to take on the project," said Bernard Seeger from Finance and Management Services.
The contract with Hughes is for 12 months of service for an estimated $280,000 — an amount based on the known maintenance requirements and anticipated repairs.
Most of the concerns Bemis voiced during the meeting involve the unknowns surrounding the deal. Hughes will have to commit to an approximate $100,000 investment in improving the facility where they would be housed, at 19204 N.E. San Rafael St. That's a little more than a third of what they will make completing the project — though they will be able to remain at the location for an additional two years, so this deal could serve as a foothold for Hughes in Multnomah County. The open-ended budget for repairs was another thing over which Bemis voiced concern.
"Hughes performs similar services to Springfield's fire fleet, so they are confident in their ability to perform this work," said Scott Lewis, administrative fire chief. "
The approved contract with Hughes Fire Equipment will go into effect on June 1.
During the meeting council also passed a pair of council proclamations dedicated to building safety month and honoring Gresham law enforcement.
The city is working to address issues of safety, energy efficiency, water conservation, and resilience in the built environment. Confidence in these issues stems from the work done by building safety and fire prevention officials, all of whom work year-round to ensure the safe construction of buildings.
Building Safety Month is sponsored by the International Code Council to remind the public about the critical role of staff members who often go unnoticed.
The other proclamation created Gresham Law Enforcement Week, which will begin the week of May 15. It read that police officers "have worked devotedly and selflessly on behalf of the people of Gresham, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves."
"There is so much going on across the country regarding law enforcement, so I am honored to read this year's proclamation," said Karylinn Echols.
The council unanimously passed consent agenda, which included:
• approving Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission's fiscal 2017-18 proposed budget.
• awarding the contract to replace Gresham City Hall's boiler systems to Tom Stevens Boiler Repair Inc.
• appointing Matt Holland to the Historic Resources Subcommittee on a recommendation from Bemis.