How much should a chair cost?If you think buying a chair for an office is an easy task, think again. And if you thought the cost of an office chair was inexpensive, you also thought wrong.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
If you think buying a chair for an office is an easy task, think again.
And if you thought the cost of an office chair was inexpensive, you also thought wrong.
At Tuesday’s regular Douglas County Board meeting, four of the five commissioners approved the purchase of 26 chairs for the newly constructed Public Works building at a cost of nearly $10,000.
The Steelcase Think Chair, which was purchased from Marco Workplace Interiors, came with a hefty price tag – $350 per chair for a total of $9,990.50 including tax, delivery and installation.
The actual list price of the “Think Chair,” which made for some fun bantering among the commissioners, is around $1,000 per chair. These chairs were stock chairs, which could be sold at a reduced price.
At a previous board meeting, the county commissioners asked Public Works Director Dave Robley to obtain price quotes for the chairs, which will be used for the engineering and survey workstations, as well as in the new conference room.
Robley complied with the board’s request and brought quotes forward.
Besides the Steelcase Think Chair, which is considered a top-end chair, there were quotes for four other chairs. The other four were comparable to one another, Robley told the commissioners, noting that the prices ranged from $265 to $317 per chair.
“I think the board chose the best chair for the money,” said Robley in a phone interview Wednesday.
With quotes, the board can choose whichever one it wants regardless of price, which is unlike a bid. With a bid, the board has to choose the lowest bid presented, with a few exceptions.
Commissioner Paul Anderson, who marveled at the expense of office chairs, asked, “Can’t we just go out to Office Max and buy chairs?”
Board Chair Bev Bales explained that office equipment is more expensive. She told Anderson, “It’s not like you are buying a recliner for your house.”
In other action
Social Services Director Mike Woods introduced three new employees to the board – Renae Rush, Jill Magnuson and Lee Wruck.
Woods also provided the board with an Out-of-Home Placement Report for 2008 and information on financial assistance caseload trends, which included medical assistance, MinnesotaCare and food stamps.
Woods noted that the numbers have increased over the last two years, but that they weren’t alarming. He said he wanted the board to stay informed and noted that he would start providing the board with a quarterly report.
Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked and received approval for a continuation of the work release contract, which the sheriff’s office has had in place for a number of years.
In addition, the commissioners adopted a resolution recognizing Corrections Officers Week, which this year will take place May 3-9.
Wolbersen also asked and received approval for a resolution declaring Douglas County in a state of emergency for conditions resulting from the spring flooding.
Wolbersen explained to the board that preliminary numbers indicate that Douglas County can qualify for the emergency assistance.
He noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is sending out two people from its agency to visit Douglas County. They will meet with the sheriff and go out to areas within the county that have been affected by flooding.
Money from FEMA would be used to fix roads and culverts that have been washed out during this year’s spring flooding season.
Public Works Director Dave Robley presented the board with a traffic control signal agreement between the county and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Traffic lights will be installed this fall at the intersection of Highway 27 and County Road 45 near the Interstate 94 ramp into Alexandria.
Robley explained that because of federal funds from the economic stimulus plan, the county does not have to pay for the installation of the lights.
The cost to install the lights is close to $58,000.
Upon completion of the project, the county will cover some costs, which Robley said were standard. These include, but are not limited to, electrical costs to operate the traffic, emergency and intersection lighting and costs related to cleaning, maintaining and replacing of the luminaries and street lights.
The board also approved the formation of a jail construction sub-committee. The committee will include two commissioners, Jerry Johnson and Norm Salto, along with County Coordinator Bill Schalow and Jail Administrator Jackie Notch. In addition, the committee will include Bruce Schwartzman from Klein McCarthy and Mike Filippi and Larry Filippi from Contegrity Group, Inc.