Meeting Date:           July 12, 2010


From:                          Mike Thornton, Purchasing Manager


Subject:                      Purchase request 42175 and award of Invitation to Bid 100321for the purchase of a tractor and side arm mower attachment to be assigned to the Storm Water Division



Staff Recommendation:

Staff recommends approval of purchase request 42175 and award of Invitation to Bid (ITB) 100321 to second lowest bidder Green South Equipment for a total amount of $86,591.00.



The City of Leesburg Storm Water Division controls vegetation on approximately 36,000 linear feet of ditch and pond banks and a combined 15 to 20 acres of retention pond property and roadside swales by mowing and cutting.


Prior to the early 1990’s, the Storm Water Division’s method of storm water mowing was by tractor and bush hog. Areas that could not be accessed with this equipment such as steeper pond banks and ditch lines were handled in various ways. The areas that received regular requests for cutting from residents or high visibility areas would be maintained manually with string trimmers. Ditches that did not fall into this category would receive no maintenance until the functional performance (water flow and percolation) was compromised. Areas at this stage usually required the use of chainsaws, a backhoe and dump truck to remove the overgrown vegetation.


In 1992 the Storm Water Division was able to purchase the first sidearm mower, also known as a boom mower. This piece of equipment enabled an operator to reach out to mow ditches and pond banks that are too steep to mow with conventional mowers. Within a couple of years all the initial clearing and grubbing of the overgrown ditches was completed and all ditch banks and pond slopes were being maintained properly.


The Storm Water Division’s first and only boom mower served them well for many years finally suffering from declining reliability and increased maintenance and repair costs.  In 2006 the boom mower was removed from service with the intent of replacement. Although it was approved in the capital budget for 2006/2007, the City Commission declined the purchase of a new machine citing overspending and a poor financial position of the Storm Water fund.


The need for a boom mower still existed.  Staff either borrowed County equipment or secured more reliable rental equipment when the mower was down for repairs for extended periods. At that time, there was no rental agency within a reasonable distance willing to rent this type of equipment.


As City staff was reviewing boom mowers prior to purchase, a demonstration machine had been brought to us by Caterpillar. During the growing season of 2007, Caterpillar agreed to rent this particular demonstration machine to the City through their Ring Rent Division. We were able to rent this machine on a monthly basis periodically through 2007 and 2008, but Caterpillar removed that machine from their rental fleet and opted to no longer rent boom mowers. During the 2009 growing season, the City was not able to secure a rental boom mower leaving the three storm water staff to attempt to manually maintain the sites which had previously been maintained with the sidearm mower.



The City pursued the option of contracting for this service.  In an effort to resolve this issue for the upcoming growing season, an ITB was advertised in August of 2009 for a yearly storm water ditch and pond mowing contract. The resulting responses were minimal with only one contractor submitting with a bid of $126,500 yearly to maintain the fifty eight storm water sites. Not all fifty eight sites require a boom mower to maintain and the contract was written to allow the City to pick and choose the number and frequency of the sites visited on an as needed basis. Environmental Services Director chose not to award the contract for two primary reasons; 1) The cost to contract the service appeared to be too high, and 2) the expense would be an ongoing annual expense.


Currently the Storm water Division maintains 58 pond and ditch sites that require mowing or cutting.  Only 31 of these benefit from a sidearm mower.  The sidearm mower is used approximately 350 to 400 hours per year. Many of these sites are sloped or so wet that personnel cannot safely maintain them with hand tools.


On March 22, 2010 this subject was presented to the commission and ended with a request to issue an ITB for the purchase of a new tractor with side arm mower attachment.  During the discussion, the Commission directed staff to research two more options before issuing the ITB.  Commissioners requested staff to look into using or renting equipment already owned by Lake County and the use of Lake County Sheriff inmate labor to maintain the necessary areas. (Minutes of the discussion on 3/22/2010 are attached for your reference.)


Staff has researched both options and determined neither to be a reliable solution for ongoing regular maintenance of the storm water sites.   The County still maintains their ponds and ditches with sidearm mowers. In the past, they have allowed the City to borrow their equipment; however, they would not be able to commit to us now since they use their mowers most of the time.  Additionally, when the City has borrowed the County mowers in the past, repairs would have to be made by the City before the equipment could be used safely.


Inquiries into the use of inmate labor showed there is no guarantee when or even if they would be available for City use.  The needs of the County and Sheriff are fulfilled first.  Requests from outside agencies are then fulfilled, if possible.  The Recreation department has been on the waiting list for three months, with no time given as to when to expect them.  This would not be a reliable option to maintain the storm water sites to the condition required.


Long term plans, within the next 5-6 years, are to enclose most if not all storm water ditches.  This will eliminate or drastically reduce the sites that require special equipment for mowing.  This time period coincides with the estimated life of the boom mower attachment.  Staff does not intend on replacing this piece of equipment when the end of its’ useful life is reached.  Enclosing the ditches will eliminate the need for this type of equipment.


Procurement & Bid Analysis:

On June 7, 2010 the Purchasing Division issued ITB 100312 for the purchase of a tractor and side arm mower attachment.  On June 15, 2010 four responses were received.


The initial low bidder was Green South Equipment at $86,591.00.  Mid Florida Tractor was second lowest bidder at $91,611.95.  The price submitted by Mid Florida Tractor, a local business, was within 10% of the non-local low bidder.  This condition triggered the City’s Local Business Enterprise policy ‘best and final’ process.  The non-local low bidder, Green South Equipment, and the local low bidder, Mid Florida Tractor, were requested to submit a best and final offer that was equal to or lower than their initial bid price.  In the best and final process Green South Equipment submitted their original offer as their best and final.  Mid Florida Tractor submitted a lower price of $86,400.00.


Following the best and final process the Fleet Services Division analyzed the bids of each company and reviewed the conformity of the proposed equipment with the specifications required in the ITB.  It was determined by analysis and exceptions to the specifications by Mid-Florida Tractor the Kubota tractor and boom mower attachment did not meet the specifications in several areas.  Areas such as minimum horsepower, type of hydraulic systems, mower head boom reach and fuel capacity/fuel consumption.


The final item of “fuel capacity/fuel consumption” is a critical element related to the efficient use and operation of the equipment.  The specification requested the tractor be capable of being operated nine hours without refueling.  The information provided by Green South for the John Deer tractor provides approximately 8 hours of operating time (48 gallon tank/6 gallons per hour).  The information provided by Mid-Florida Tractor for the Kubota provides approximately 5.75 hours of operating time (46 gallon tank/8 gallons per hour).  Refueling the tractor during the day prior to the end of shift would result in excessive travel time and loss of productivity.  The longer the tractor can operate without refueling the more productive the operator and piece of equipment can be.


The Invitation to Bid clearly stated the bids would be evaluated and a recommended award made on a ‘Best Value’ basis.  The Fleet Services Division and Environmental Services Department have deemed the equipment bid by Green South Equipment to fully meet the specifications and provide the best value to the City even though they are not the lowest bid.





Company / Location

Tractor / Mower

Model Year

Original Bid Price

Best and Final Price

Green South Equip.

Ocala, FL

John Deere 6430

Alamo Machete 22’




Mid Florida Tractor

Leesburg, FL

Kubota M108SDSC

Terrain King KB2200




Highland Tractor

Leesburg, FL

John Deere 6430

Alamo Machete 22’



Not Eligible

Ring Power

Riverview, FL

Challenger MT525B

Diamond DBR060



Not Eligible

* In stock new unit.




1.  Approve the purchase to Green South Equipment for a total amount of $86,591.00; or

2.  Such alternative action as the Commission may deem appropriate


Fiscal Impact

Funds are available in the Stormwater Fund which will be transferred to the General Fund Fleet division for this purchase.  Staff estimated the cost to be approximately $96,000.00.  The actual bid price is almost $10,000.00 lower than anticipated.


There will be an annual maintenance cost of $2,820.00 ($235.00/month) paid to Fleet Services for the tractor and boom mower attachment.  There will be no monthly fleet lease charge as the purchase of this equipment is being funded by storm water and there is no intention to replace the equipment at the end of its’ life.


Submission Date and Time:    7/22/2010 10:40 AM____


Department: _Public Works/Fleet Services_

Prepared by:  _Mike Thornton__________                     

Attachments:         Yes_X__   No ______

Advertised:   _X___Not Required ______                     

Dates:   _June 6, 2010_________________                      

Attorney Review :       Yes___  No ____



Revised 6/10/04


Reviewed by: Dept. Head ________


Finance  Dept. _______JB_________                                     


Deputy C.M. ___________________                                                                         

Submitted by:

City Manager ___________________


Account No. _001-5110-519-6412__


Project No. __FLEET___________


WF No. _____WF0635052/18___


Budget  ______________________


Available _____________________