Council green-lights sign equipment purchase

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 19, 2012

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Call it a sign of the times.

The city is about to get new sign fabrication equipment, a purchase that was included in the 2012-13 budget. According to Public Works Superintendent Tracy Stephens, the city’s sign department produces signs for streets, traffic control, special events and police vehicle graphics. During a Sept. 10 City Council meeting, City Manager Shane Reeside told officials that the current equipment is about 12 years old and “a little bit dated.” It’s also no longer under warranty and the city is limited in terms of the types of printing materials that can be used, Stephens indicated.

“We feel that it’s a good investment,” Reeside said of the purchase.

The Farms received three bids for new sign fabrication equipment, and the City Council unanimously approved the low bid of $15,524 — as recommended by administrators — from Advantage Sign Supply Inc. The firm has branches around the country, but its corporate headquarters are in Grand Rapids.

Reeside said the new equipment will be easier to operate, and Stephens pointed out that the city would be able to use a greater range of materials at a lower cost.

“It’s great that we’re saving money by creating our own signs,” Mayor James Farquhar said after the meeting.

He added that the city could also help out its neighbors by producing signs for them — part of the intergovernmental collaborations that are being encouraged at the state level. Farquhar said the other communities can save money, as well, because the Farms is only charging them to cover its costs, not to make a profit.

Besides making signs for events, such as the annual Farms Concours d’Elegance and all-Pointes outdoor movie night, Reeside said other cities nearby contract with the Farms for some signs, bringing in about $10,000-$50,000 annually for the city, which helps cover sign department operations.

At press time, Reeside said he expected he would be placing an order for the equipment Sept. 11. He said it would likely arrive within the next 30 days.