Emergency Power Source Purchased

An emergency backup generator that should guarantee that city hall will keep operating during a power outage should be installed within the next couple of months after the St. Clair Board of Aldermen approved spending nearly $86,000 to accept the lowest and best bid to purchase one.

The decision was made during a special meeting last week that preceded the board’s second budget workshop.

Brda Electric Inc. of Fenton was the lowest of three bids received by the city for the generator and its installation. The natural gas-powered unit will be able to run city hall, including the police department, in case of some kind of weather-related or other emergency.

Brda’s “turn-key” bid was $85,900.

“After our last board meeting, you requested references,” City Administrator Rick Childers told the aldermen before the unanimous vote was taken to approve the bid. “We have checked references, and there were no problems.

“Brda’s proposal is the same as it was.”

When the aldermen discussed the generator earlier this month, it was decided Brda was the best option. However, the company had provided no references at that time, so the board opted to wait on a final decision until references were provided and checked.


Childers has been researching generators for months after the board of aldermen approved money for one in the city’s 2013 budget. City officials placed the generator near the top of their priority list a year ago, and $67,500 was placed in the 2013 budget for that purpose.

Currently, if severe weather or some kind of natural disaster would knock out power in St. Clair, including city hall, there is no backup power source.

Periodically throughout the year, Childers has updated board members on his generator progress. One of the stipulations he required of vendors in seeking bids was that the unit be installed as a “turn-key” operation, meaning it would be ready to use immediately.

Last week, the aldermen reviewed the three bids for the natural gas generator and all the hardware and installation to go with it. The prices ranged from $142,508 to $85,990, a difference of $56,518.

The other two companies that submitted bids were Benson Electric Co. Inc of St. Louis ($142,508) and Streib Electric Co. of St. Louis ($113,385).

“It appears from our review and with meeting with all three firms that all three come close to providing all elements of our bid specifications,” Childers said last week. “My recommendation is to accept the Brda bid.”

Childers reminded the aldermen that $67,500 was budgeted for a generator, and that amount was based on guesswork from a six- to seven-year-old proposal that was not accepted.

Ward 1 Alderman Nathan Tate asked if Brda was including everything the city is asking for because its bid “is a big price difference.”

Childers responded by agreeing that the bid price range was wide, but it may be based “by who’s hungriest right now.”

“Instructions were given to all of them that we want this turn key,” he said, adding that he can’t guarantee there will be no additional costs.

That discussion then led to getting the references for the company before final approval was given.