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On November 9th, 2021, St. Gabriel Communications, 88.5 FM, Adel, IA, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for authority to construct a new noncommercial educational FM broadcast station to operate on 89.9 FM, at Spencer, IA. Members of the public wishing to view this application or obtain information about how to file comments and petitions on the application can visit https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/dataentry/views/public/nceDraftCopy?displayType=html&appKey=25076f917ce2e04b017ce708493e0cfb&id=25076f917ce2e04b017ce708493e0cfb&goBack=N
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Trout recommending City pay Des Moines company more than $21,000 to paint arrows



This news story was published on March 20, 2012.
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by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – City Administrator Brent Trout is recommending to the city council that the City pay a Des Moines business over $21,000 to paint white directional arrows here in town.

The Council will vote on the proposal Tuesday night.

The cost is part of what the City calls the “2012 Pavement Marking Program.”  The overall cost to the City will be $99,915.60, all of which will be paid to Quality Striping from Des Moines.  No Mason City businesses bid on the project.

Each directional arrow will cost the City $65.00.  The City is requesting 327 of those, along with 20,085 crosswalk lines, which cost $1.10 each, according to information City Hall released.  Also on the item list is 7,886 “stop lines” which cost $1.70 each for a total of $13,406.20.  Those three components of the “2012 Pavement Marking Program” make up well over 50% of the cost of the program.

Trout (pictured) last week fully backed a Globe Gazette story that advocated sending work out of the city and mocked the use of city employees to do work such as pavement painting.  Trout readily provided quotes and answers to a Globe reporter.  “It would be silly for us to go to the expense of purchasing a (painting) machine for Mason City just for that purpose,” Trout explained, “and using our manpower when we can hire it out at far less cost.”

When I asked Mr. Trout for clarifications on the painting program and the use of city employees and equipment on the project, he said he was out of town and would answer me next week. He never responded.  Mayor Eric Bookmeyer refused to comment as well.

It has been written here on NIT that city employees had for years painted the pavement in Mason City, using city-owned stencils and equipment and supplies bought here in town.  The wages and dollars were kept here.  According to Trout, that is silly.  My calculations seem to indicate otherwise; the benefit to the community is obvious and clear.  NIT readers, judge for yourselves.

Click here to learn more about painting equipment that would easily manage the bulk of the pavement painting in Mason City at a one-time cost of $2,995.  The equipment could be used year after year.  Wages and paint/supplies would need to be paid for each year and could be bought from a local paint supplier.  Depending on the workload of city staff already on the payroll, part-time or seasonal workers could be hired that could handle the work with little training at a decent wage.

NorthIowaToday.com will report after the meeting on how the City Council discusses and votes on the matter.

Watch a video of how the painting equipment works:

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53 Responses to Trout recommending City pay Des Moines company more than $21,000 to paint arrows

  1. JBJ Reply Report comment

    November 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    just a thought but does waterloo cedar falls fort dodge albert lea austin have any machines could rented for a few days? this not something that is used everyday.

    what does the county do

  2. 50 miles south Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    I was in mason city all day friday and saturday. so If you saw someone you didnt know…that was me. IT wasnt me causing the problem on the north side. anyway.. I saw a commercial paint machine sell for only $55 at fox auctions. it was used but still worked and was a better machine than the one in the video for $3000. I have a question for the experts. highway 18 and 65 are state highways. isnt it the states responsability to pain those lines??? I may be wrong on that. prove me wrong. I do know that flagmen and other safty regulations are different for state highways vs local city streets. so like another person stated. why only give examples for the busy highways and nothing about the side streets. the street project was divided into stages by the city. why then not divide the estimates and the job letting out seperately. I know that nobody local gave bids. HOWEVER… would they have bid, if the bids were divided up between highways and side streets? or were they? I dont know

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Fantastic observation. I will have a follow-up to this story in due time. Thanks for your insights.

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 22, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Any time I can help Reggie. I havent seen that nice guy that you say he is yet but if he starts respecting all the classes in MC I will gladly change my opinion. Example refusing to give any information to NIT and probably the one behind ordering others to do the same.

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      March 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Who in their right mind would do anything for NIT after they have bashed him repeatedly and called him “beermeyer”.Would you?Peter once said “respect begets respect” and in this case NIT didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

      • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        March 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

        Reggie, I appreciate your comments. You are privy to only a tiny piece of the true story. Let me inform you. NIT is asking nothing of the Mayor. He has already made it clear to me in personal conversations that from the day NIT was launched he had no intentions of ever dealing with NIT. In fact, the Mayor told me the first time I met him that I should “give up” and that NIT would be a huge failure. I thank Mr. Bookmeyer for a small slice of motivation everyday. In the meantime, NIT will continue to watch and criticize City Hall, both the good and the bad they pursue. And yes, we will continue to question the Mayor, despite his ignorance.

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        March 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm

        Matt: you beat me to that same point. things have to start somewhere. maybe its not agreeing with how the city is run. or not wanting another news outlet that might tell the other side of the story.
        Reggie: why do I get the feeling that you like Rush Limbaugh? I may be wrong, but to those who do believe in Rush…..you had better not be the ones that bitch about people and their negative comments here on NIT. if so id call you a hypocrite

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      March 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Well Matt if the Mayor did say that then I guess I would be a little vindictive too.Just don’t be like a middle school girl and every time someone disagrees with you you start with the name calling.50 you think I like Rush? Nothing could be further from the truth.Since I don’t listen to Rush could you please explain how and why you think I am a hypocrite?

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        March 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        Reggie:Im glad you do not listen to or like Rush Limbaugh. he is one of the most hateful men on the radio. always trying to slander someone that doesnt think the same way he does.

        I wrote…”but to those who do believe in Rush…..you had better not be the ones that bitch about people and their negative comments here on NIT. if so id call you a hypocrite.”
        thankfully, since you do not like rush, you are not included in my statement

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      March 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Also Matt had you taken the high road and provided constructive criticism you might have earned the Mayor’s respect and he would have talked to you. Instead you took the low road with name calling and character assassination .Its really too bad.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 22, 2012 at 5:43 am

    It won’t be long and beermeyer will have a band playing hail to the chief at the start of every meeting.

  5. 50 miles south Reply Report comment

    March 21, 2012 at 9:45 am

    If the companies that sent in bids, can do the job sooooo cheap. I can only wonder how they even make a profit at all. they have to pay employees, insurance, tools and equipment, a profit margin built in, ect. I dont see how they can compete with a city that has workers already on the payroll, already has the insurance policy any city needs. the paint itself that can be purchased straight from the factory. and the city using equipment they already own at the airport. HOW CAN THIS DES MOINES COMPANY STAY IN BUISNESS????????????? not to mention the drive time and extra fuel at almost $4.00. lodging, ect.I just cant understand

    (this is my attenpt at sarcasm)

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2012 at 10:42 am

      In the case I presented, paint and glass beads for US 65 would cost $,5100.00 alone. The competing bid was $7,488.00 total.

      Prices have a tendancy to be lower when more quantity is purchased. Thus, a company that does nothing but pavement markings will purchase huge volumes at the corresponding price break.

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

        was your estimate for us65 the 21,000 quote? Or what percentage of the total $100k project was your estimate for? how many markings? will the company actually use the same amount of paint and glass beads as in your estimate? it has been my experience that companies usually dont hold up to the quoted amount of supplies.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        The estimate as stated below was just for US 65, no stop bars, crosswalks, or curbing involved. It assumes 16.25 gallons of paint per mile, and 10 pounds of beads per gallon of paint (using machine application). These came from Sherwin Williams. Without any discounts, the paint is $18.99 per gallon meeting US DOT specs.

        The city cost, based upon wages of $16.50 per hour for 3 men, paint came out to $4,918, totalling $6,300. Absent a machine of any sort, the beads would be dispensed by hand, at a waste factor of 50%. The beads could not be purchased in bulk bags of 1,000 pounds, but in 50 pound bags due to logistics of this method. This did not include truck costs, fuel, traffic control devices, or other costs.

        The contractor estimate was taken from bids across Iowa and the US. In those bids, the price varied from 10¢ to 7.5¢ per linear foot, everything except traffic control devices included (I took the low bid). Since most companies used an automated truck, the amounts of paint and glass beads applied are tightly controlled for the most part (it all depends upon the operator). Given the job of 83,200 linear feet on US 65, the cost of $7,488 was the total.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 21, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Mark,
    Just wanted to let you know that the city had just purchased painting equipment to have at the MASON CITY AIRPORT. The maintenance employees use it to paint the stripes in the parking lots and on the runways.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Interesting. It’s also interesting that the critics love to pick on the busy street line painting portion of the overall project. Why not contract that part out and paint the directional arrows, etc. “in-house?” The cost could be cut in half and more dollars kept in the city. Mr. Kuhn, why don’t you take the lead on this… you would look like a champion of labor by putting people to work… this would be great for your future campaigns.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

        Matt, this was pointed out to me by a friend from home as a very viable alternate to the push cart thing.

        One person operation does it all. And the productivity is so good, it can be shared with other local departments to help defray costs. It mounts on a pickup, and handles all materials on a single vehicle.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-fcbD8V4hM&feature=related

        Yes the cost may be much higher, but a.) it keeps the work here; b.) it is easy to use; and c.) it produces very good results for the money.

        It also appears that this machine has a longer life than the push contraption. So the $33,000 cost is spread out over years.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        March 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm

        Observer, that machine looks wonderful for striping roads, but it doesn’t solve the problem for crosswalks, arrows, and parking lots. They would still need a smaller machine. They also need street cleaners to go ahead of them to clean the areas of debris.

        Personally, I think PC should invest in starting a local business that does all of this. He could provide jobs to 2-3 people, hire a manager and an accountant locally, provide health & dental insurance for them, give them SIRA’s, buy the liability insurance locally, buy the trucks locally, , and go into business providing cheap street painting services to all the towns in North Iowa. It would be way more profitable than serving 10 barrels of beer a week.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        March 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        The machine does come with an optional hand sprayer, and is available from Sherwin Williams right here in Mason City. The paint is also sold here, at a fairly good price, same supplier. How’s that for buying local?

  7. Observer Reply Report comment

    March 21, 2012 at 1:47 am

    By the way, anyone who has ever used one of those push along contraptions knows that it takes some time to perform the work, spacing the dashed lines correctly, and keeping it straight, sweeping ahead of the spraying, laying glass beads down.

    With water based paints being used now, it takes a minimum of 60 minutes before traffic can be let on it.

  8. common sense Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Mason city schools paints the athlectic fields and lines and arrows on the parking lots. They buy all the paint local and do a very good job! If the city wants to rent the machine I’m sure they would be willing to work something out.

  9. Echo Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This is one reason why people complain about government. With this money being spent it is obvious that our city management is not spending the tax-payers money wisely. Lets see tonight if one of our elected officials stand up and tell Trout no way we will do this work with city personal.

  10. OneEyed Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    So its $21,000 just for arrows and $99,915.60 for all of the lines??

    Seems ridiculous to me.

    And their stance is that ‘its cheaper to outsource’, which is why everything is made in Mexico and China now days…and look at the quality? Des Moines seems to be as ‘local’ as we can get.

    Why is it all the construction labor comes from out of town as well?? Just to build these businesses that want OUR money and run radio ads telling us to “Buy Local!”

    But why would we? We all want a cheaper deal, especially if someone else is footing the bill.

  11. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Hope this don’t cause another one of those silly me rants. I just got the diarrhea cleared up from the last one.

  12. Kilter Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Idiots, all of you criticizing. Don’t you know Trout and Bookmeyer are way more qualified than any of you to make these determinations? Don’t you think they looked at all the angles? Armchair quarterbacks. Let the men with real college degrees who know more than you run the city. Mr. Marquardt, you are a sad, sad person. Don’t you have anything better to do? Your idea is worthless and so are you. Get a life.

    • Larry Snyder Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Hey Kilter-when did you sober up enough to write that crap. If you are going to call people names and insult their intelligence (you are an insult) at least have guts enough to use your full name.

      • Why???? Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        Are you going to beat them up if they dont agree with your side? Does it lend validity to any opinion? Booo hoooo, something more to whine and cry about. Stick to the facts on the topic, dont worry about who someone is. If you are worried about the identity of someone, then your opinion of the topic at hand probably isnt well substantiated itself!

  13. Why Not Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Why not get some low security risk inmates from the county jail to do this? That would be pretty inexpensive.

  14. Wow!!!! Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Talk about a double-standard…. Some of you complain about our taxes being out of control. Then when the city does something to actually control costs some of you complain yet again. Which is it, fiscal responsibility or higher taxes??? I will guarantee you the city looked at the numbers every way they could before arriving at this conclusion! If you know anything about labor costs, direct and indirect overhead expenses, liability, etc. then you would arrive at the same conlusion! The city is saving money on this. If those same city employees want to do it on their time and assume the risk for the reward (under their own business), it sounds like it may be a nice part-time gig! I am betting they wouldnt do it for that amount either!

    • Larry Snyder Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Hey Wow- I bashfully admit that I have probably forgot more about profit and loss and project costing then you will ever know. You should really get your facts straight before spouting off. I would bet you are part of the “A” team trying to discredit NIT. There is absolutely no way it osts $65 to paint a arrow or a line especially if you already have the insurance and fringe benefits you are paying regardless of whethr they are working or not. Also, if you hire local summer help you pay only wages with no benefits. All you have is a $4.00 spray can of paint and the costs of getting them to the site. Plenty of city trucks just running around to take them where needed.

      • Peter Children Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm

        That would be too simple for these people. It also makes more sense than anything else I have read here.

      • Wow!!!! Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        Oh Larry, you bashful one you. Do you know what a means book is… I mean (no pun intended) come on, you have forgetten more then I will ever know (just ask yourself… laughable)! Check out a National Construction Estimator book, look in the “Index” Section (back of the book) and see what page “Pavement;Striping” is on, go to that page and it will break out the cost of ONE arrow symbol, line, etc. Gee, looks like it costs @ the amount proposed! Otherwise, get a quote… wait, they did! No one local bid on it (pondering why… oh yeah, PROFIT). The dollars do NOT make sense for the ROI, oh, sorry, return on investment, but you already knew that! So, with my @30 years of construction management experience(yes, that includes accounting for budgeted costs vs actual costs and self-performing vs subcontracting cost analysis) I will leave it once again to the whiners, er ah NITWITS (said with all due respect) who just dont get it because they are un/under informed! As far as the A-team… What A-Team, that show hasnt been on for ages…which is where I think you may be stuck (well in the past). Discrediting NIT? No,this site does serve a purpose. Get another clue, buy a vowel, educate yourself on the complete process so you can make a more informed opinion. This one seems to be above your paygrade and it isnt that tough (laughable again)!

        Lastly, I will once again ask “why the double- standard”??? No one seems to want to address that!

        Hugs (Larry) and have a great day!

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

        WOW: you sure wasted alot of space here with $50 phrazes and didnt say one word about what the rest of us are talking about. the problem isnt how to write an estimate for bids. the question/problem is why not use the manpower and equipment the city already has to do the job. and to all the other people that think city hall “always investigates every option” your crazy as hell. they may look at a few options, but some options are never thought about. did they think about having themselves, the city council, mayor, secretary, ect do the job themself and donate their labor?? NO… just like they didnt look into or asking maintanence if they wanted to do it. Can you PROVE to me, that they asked maintanence if they wanted to do it????. NO YOU CANT. so that PROVES that they didnt look into every option.
        Assuming you own a car and dont do your own repairs. you may take it to the dealership where you bought it. does the dealership outsource its mechanical work to someone else???? I think not… does the fairgrounds outsource the food/beverage contract to an outside family??? I think not…If not for federal law, would the banks outsource its accounting??? i think not…

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2012 at 2:12 am

        Larry, take a look around at what other communities, counties, and states are paying for arrows. $65 is the going rate. And that is a quote for the arrow using paint, not thermoplastic.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        March 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

        Well that $4.00 can of spray paint (15oz.) is enough for 125 feet of lines at the standard of 4 inches. I’ll use my case in point, US 65 contains about 83,200 linear feet of stripes. The job would require 667 cans of spray paint at $2,668.00, not including glass beads.

  15. 50 miles south Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Matt: there is nothing illegal about video taping the workers doing the crosswalk painting is there?? NO…. as long as you do not interfear with the work. id say tape them and then post it here. show everyone including the naysayers how simple it is. how much time it takes for them to make the $65 per arrow. weather or not they did it in a hurry or took their time and did a good job. did they clean off the street first for good adheasion?? you get the point

    • Too lazy... Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

      He won’t because that’s way too close to real journalism for him and this website!

      But I’m sure he’ll complain that e Globe Gazette didn’t do it, either, because they suck, you know.

      The grapes were sour anyway…

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Yes, that will be the plan. I will get some video of these Des Moines people up here making $65 to paint a white arrow. That is more than a lot of people in MC make working all day. I would guess it takes less than 5 minutes to paint one arrow. Very very sad that the City is working so hard to send every dollar it can out of the city. They really seem to despise their own staff and the prospect of hiring anyone. This is what happens when only 12% get out to vote.

  16. Larry Snyder Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The more they outsource the less they need local labor working for the city. They can use the lack of work caused by outsourcing to reduce the union labor we currently have working. That is the only way they can justify reducing labor. That way the can show hourly labor and benefit reduction. Think of it. It is much easier to outsource and let someone else who is eager to work for the money do the work. I have used these line painters and they are very simple machines. They are used in almost every manufacturing plant to paint lines.

  17. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

    This entire city council is in a trance, this measure will pass without a no vote. The tax payer in this city is royally screwed. There isn’t a backbone at that table. If Marsters Nelson and Weaver were there this wouldn’t even be on the agenda and the money would not leave town

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

      How do you figure Peter? The money left town the 8 and 12 years they were on the council and voted yes to having the lines painted in Mason City by outside companies and never said a word.

  18. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Don’t know about the economics of the situation but it sure seems like the durability of the paint has been pathetic. You won’t get much out of Trout he’s part of the beermeyer puppet show along with the third from the bottom paper in the state of Iowa.

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2012 at 1:27 am

      I am thinking that the City doing the work, would not be that much savings. I did an estimate just using US 65. Using the push along spray painter, 3 people, and one pick up truck, the basic cost was $6,300. Using data from bids around the Mid-West, I came up with $7,488.

      The bids took into account everything, while in the city example, I did not take into account truck usage, sign & traffic cone rental, overhead and benefits (labour was a conservative $16.50 an hour).

      There are a lot more variables to include. I think formost in my mind, would be the time it would take a city crew, versus the outside bidder (the city would take over twice as long). Plus, a push along sprayer would be quite difficult in real world streets to keep steady. One piece of gravel, crack in the road, or manhole would send it astray. Not so with a truck. Last, there is a whole lot more set-up involved with a push along, in order to meet US DOT specs for lines. And a lot of waste as well.

      I am willing to post the entire examination if anyone has questions.

  19. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Unconscionable, but then neither Trout or Bookmeyer re native to Mason City and therefore do not have the deep feeling for local labor

    • Peter Children Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 7:10 am

      I meant to say neither “are” native.

    • wow Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

      No Mason City businesses bid on the project.

      How do you propose we FORCE local businesses to bid on this project?

      • candid views Reply Report comment

        March 20, 2012 at 9:05 am

        After watching the video and seeing the costs they are paying this is a no-brainer. We pay this guy how much a year? I would not be surprised if there are 100 more examples where the city is wasting money.

  20. Tax Payer Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Would we want a city employee operating one of these painters, remember the street sweeper they left on it’s side in the middle of the road last year?

    • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

      I feel sorry for you guys in mason city. do you really have that many incompetent people working for you? maybe i have way too much faith in people. but then i have been self employed for many years, and do all my own repairs. from rebuilding all my vehicles to installing the boiler in my house. I guess i simply “assume” others can do it also.

  21. amanda Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 4:26 am

    of course it would be silly to use the city employees we already have. after all dick bridgford and dick adams used a pickup that seen better days and equipment that had a hard life too.
    not only did those 2 paint lines they also replaced street signs.
    but then again why would trout care, after all its not his money he is spending.
    also, why would he care if it was done by people that DO NOT LIVE here, after all there is no one in Mason city who wants to do it. his words not mine>>> No Mason City businesses bid on the project.

    and of course drunkmeyer won’t comment, why should he. after all he far smarter then anyone else.

    • Joe Reply Report comment

      March 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      Amanda, you are so right. They used to do a GREAT JOB, even as they got quite old. Dick Bridgeford was my neighbor and a really good guy and a hard worker. Sorry to see he passed away recently. Our city employees could easily continue to do this kind of work and save the taxpayer some money. Easier to drive around and try to look busy.