The Mount Pleasant City Commission approved contracts for snow removal services for city streets, as well as for clearing airport runways at Monday night’s meeting.
McGuirk Excavating, Inc. was awarded the three-year contract — from 2012 to 2015 — for snow removal at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Airport, with a cost to the city of no more than $12,500 per year.
The 2013 contract for snow removal equipment and operators for the rest of the city was awarded to R & T Murphy Farms & Trucking LLC, for a total cost not to exceed $22,000.
Different companies will be handling city streets versus airport runways because clearing snow from the runways is time sensitive.
“We always go out separately for (the airport) bid because the airport cannot wait for other high travel streets to be cleared by the street department, so it makes most sense to have a crew dedicated to just cleaning the runway,” City Manager Kathie Grinzinger said. “The best way to do that is to contract with the private sector.”
Pat McGuirk Excavating was the only bid for the airport snow removal contract, and Commissioner Jon Joslin said he would like to know why the city received just one bid when there are numerous excavating companies in the area.
“It just seems like year after year we only get one bid out at the airport, I’m curious to know if it’s that much more difficult, are we not advertising as well on this project as others?” Joslin asked.
Department of Public Works Director Roger Rousse explained airport snow removal requires a highly specialized type of equipment, and also elaborated another reason why so few companies would want the airport contract.
“(McGuirk) is willing to dedicate their piece of machinery to the airport for the entire winter, where some of the others might want to have their equipment available for them,” Rousse said.
Rousse said that the snow plowing contract amounts are budgeted and based on averages. The typical rule of thumb is one-third of budget is used in last three months and two-thirds in remainder of the year.
“If it looks like we’ll exceed that amount we will come back to ask the commission for additional funding,” Rousse said. “What may be more important than the volume of snowfall is whether it has snow and ice because in this case we cannot use corrosives out at the airport, and can only use a broom.”