WAUPUN — The Department of Public Works will be purchasing a new work truck through Ewald Automotive in Oconomowoc as originally planned. This comes after Mayor Bishop threatened to veto the entire budget over the non-local truck in November.
Mayor Bishop’s argument was primarily that the City should go through local businesses such as Homan Auto because they support Waupun community clubs and events with large sponsorships, and that without them they would not likely exist.
“Out-of-town businesses like Ewald don’t do anything for us,” Mayor Bishop said.
After a month-long drafting process the City Council approved the addition of local preference to the City Purchasing Policy, now defining “local” as any business within Fond du Lac County and Dodge County.
But there’s a catch: the policy only accounts for a price difference of 1%, or $1,000 at maximum of a $100,000 total price tag. While this may not seem like a lot, spread over many purchases it stretches the budget beyond what the City may be able to cover. And large purchases such as work vehicles and equipment still must go through the Common Council for approval.
The truck being considered through Ewald was a 2023 Ford F350 truck, quoted at a price tag of $48,282. When the issue was brought to the City Council last month, Homan Auto presented a similar vehicle—a 2023 Ford Superduty—which was quoted at $50,181.
The order window for Ewald’s F350 had a final date of December 16th, the Friday following the meeting. By the Dec 12th meeting the purchasing window for the Homan Auto Superduty had already closed, but Homans also provided the option of a 2023 Dodge Ram 3500, which was about $300 cheaper than the Superduty at $49,905, but still above the standard set by the new purchasing policy.
The Council debated the merits of the purchase, discussing the importance of being “stewards of the taxpayers’ money.” While the general consensus favored saving money where possible, the Council did not diminish the importance of buying local.
“We are in favor of buying local, whenever it makes sense,” Alderman Dan Siebers said.
DPW Director Jeff Daane pointed out that while not all of their vehicles are supplied by Homan Auto, most service work on the DPW fleet is done at Homans.
Before the final vote on the truck was held, Mayor Bishop reiterated his support for buying locally. “Before we vote I just want to remind everyone that Homans recently decided to renew their contribution to Celebrate Waupun and that Ewald does not do anything for us,” he said.
The vote ended 4-1 in favor of the Ewald bid, Langford dissenting. Alderwoman Vanderkin was absent from the meeting.
Following the meeting Mayor Bishop gave a statement to WPN, saying, “I respectfully disagree with the Council’s decision. To save $1,600 we’re buying a truck from an Oconomowoc dealership, the same week Homans again agreed to sponsor Celebrate Waupun. I think that’s wrong, and I’m glad at least Alderman Langford supported me.”
The Ewald truck will be delivered to Waupun early next year.