County to Get New Bookmobiles

Written by Estero Bay News

September 24, 2021

County Supervisors approved spending over $6,300 more to resurrect the County Library System’s bookmobile program.

According to a report, in March 2020 the Supervisors agreed to spend $315,000 out of the Library Facilities Designation Fund to buy three, three-quarter ton cargo vans at $55,000 each, plus $150,000 to convert them into bookmobiles and, “reinstate mobile library services, public outreach and homebound delivery of library materials to facilities and unincorporated areas and to community members who have difficulty visiting a library.”
The County Fleet Services Department and library officials put out a request for proposals for the vans and got two bids — Matthews Specialty Vehicles of Greensboro, North Carolina for $326,000; and Techops Specialty Vehicles from Stevensville, Maryland for $154,000. Techops got the bid in May 2021 in a contract that included transportation costs.

But the vans have been sitting in the County maintenance yard on Kansas Avenue waiting to be shipped back east. Drawings and plans by Techops have been approved but the project was stalled. Techops sent a change order to the County in July asking for $6,300 more to cover the shipping costs.
“TOSV,” the report said, “indicated the additional transportation cost was due to the shipping company’s original quote expiring after 30 days, in addition to nationwide shipping delays, a volatile supply chain industry, and the increase in gas prices in California and across North America.”

The County has already paid half the bill — some $77,200 — and the Library Department checked prices to ship the vans and determined that would be $1,500 each way for each van, which comes out to much more than Techops’ change order.
The money will come out of the Library’s “Facilities Designation” (reserve) fund, which had a balance of over $2.4 million.

Once the new bookmobiles are in service it will allow the library system to deliver materials to remote, unincorporated areas and to the homebound, “contributing to a healthy and well-governed community.”

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