Richmond Memorial Library gets a set of wheels

BATAVIA — The planned addition of a new Jeep Cherokee Latitude will allow the Richmond Memorial Library to continue delivering library materials to people living in resident care facilities across the county.

“We’re expecting delivery in late February or early March, with usage to proceed immediately upon receipt,” said Library Director Bob Conrad.

Genesee County assisted the library with the competitive bid process and the library arranged to buy the 2921 Jeep for $13,557, less than half of the retail price, thanks to a municipal discount and trade-in value on the 2011 panel van the library had been using to deliver materials. The deliveries are done under the Library Visits Program, formerly known as SAGE, one of several programs funded by a grant from the Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging to improve the quality of life of Genesee County seniors.

“The library will also be able to use the vehicle to carpool library staff, for example to circulation meetings and ongoing technology trainings at Nioga system headquarters in Lockport, or to conferences and continuing education opportunities such as NYLA’s annual conference in Saratoga Springs, or to outreach events across our service area,” Conrad said.

The library director said nothing bad happened to the 2011 van, but added, “It’ll approaching 10 years old and a mileage point at which its trade-in value would depreciate precipitously. It was time to trade it in for the best value.

“Staff had trouble maneuvering the van in typical Western New York winters, or backing it up with no rear-view mirror or backup features,” he said.

The rear fold-down seating will allow the library to use the new vehicle primarily for large group loan delivery, but sometimes as a passenger vehicle.

“The Library Visits Program has been operating since the library reopened in June, although some parts of the program are running in a limited capacity due to the pandemic,” Conrad said. “For example, only about half of the group care facilities are allowing us to make large group deliveries right now, and home deliveries are restricted to doorstep, not indoor, deliveries.”

Conrad said the library works with the Batavia City School Districton many fronts, including the library’s capital and equipment needs.

“But a vehicle, unfortunately, does not fall within that scope. I did call their (the school district’s) business office for advice ...” he said. Conrad said district Business Administrator Scott Rozanski advised using a competitive bid process.

“It was the Library Visits Program’s astute program coordinator, Lucine Kauffman, who remembered that the county could assist us with that, and that’s why we reached out to Eve Hens, the county’s purchasing director. As purchasing director assisting the county’s various incorporated municipalities with procurement is within her authority, if I understand correctly,” Conrad said. “There is no equivalent role for that within the city that I am aware of, and as we are not a city or town department, I don’t think that would have been an option.”

Hens Monday said the bid needs the Legislature’s approval to become a legal contract, regardless of who is using that contract in the future.

“The Invitation to bid clearly stated that the bid was being put in place for use by the Richmond Public Library. Municipalities often sponsor bids for use by other municipalities,” she said. “We also incorporate a statement in all of our bids that we may purchase all or none of the items being bid on as well as a “piggyback clause,” allowing other municipalities to use the Genesee County bid with the mutual consent of the bidder. All New York state and Genesee County procurement laws and guidelines were followed in this procurement.”

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