The rest of the quicklime story

Tina Olson


Let me state the information reported thus far regarding the quicklime bid for 2018 was missing vital information. Quicklime cannot be purchased locally. It has to be purchased from vendors out of state. The verbiage “Purchase Locally” is being misused.

Quicklime is used as part of the treatment process for our water and it has to be brought into the city of Minot. Each year vendors wishing to bid the project must put together their cost for purchasing the quicklime from a qualified vendor and include cost to deliver it into the water treatment plant. For several years, the successful bidders have been local trucking companies. These trucking firms had to go to other states to purchase, pickup, and haul quicklime to Minot. This year a company that actually produces the quicklime and has a strong working relationship with the BNSF Railroad put together a bid, much like several local trucking firms and other vendors. Each firm based their bid on their cost to secure the quicklime, haul it to Minot, and, of course, include their profit margin. LHoist was the low bidder for 2018. The method of delivery will change from it being trucked from other states to it being brought in by railcar.

As part of their due diligence prior to awarding the contract, the city commissioners met with LHoist management to gain better understanding of how they will move the quicklime product from their plant in the southern part of the US to Minot and then to the water treatment plant. LHoist indicated with their long standing business relationship with the BNSF they will bring the product into Minot via rail. They will then contract with two additional local firms to move it from the railcars to the water treatment plant. This means LHoist will be utilizing three local businesses in support of the 2018 contract. They see the value of local business and will not be bringing in their staff and cut out the Minot business community.

When the prior trucking firms purchased the quicklime from vendors outside of Minot and ND, around 85% of the cost went back to the out of state vendor, leaving only 15% for the local trucking firm and the Minot economy. 2018 will see a larger percentage funneled back into Minot and to three local businesses as a majority of LHoist’s cost is wrapped up in the moving the product from the quicklime plant to Minot.

The end result of LHoist being awarded the water treatment quicklime contract for 2018 is a saving to the City of Minot in neighborhood of $80,000. Not only will they be supporting our local economy by contracting with three local businesses to move the lime from their plant by railcar to the Minot, but they are saving us significant dollars in the process.

Utilization of local business and purchasing locally is significant to our economy. Personally, I shop local as much as possible and with local/hometown businesses. The city council should and I believe does keep this in mind as well when awarding business contracts. However, the bid process is working and to change it to shut off outside vendors could potentially hurt Minot in certain situations, case in point with the quicklime bid going to LHoist in 2018. If they would not have been able to bid, Minot would be paying $80,000 more, and with our economy in a true slump, we cannot afford to just sweep money under the table.

It truly would have been nice if the story presented would have spelled out the process and why the bid was awarded in LHoist. Instead it left many with the feeling that our city council was sticking it to the local businesses, when in reality three businesses will see benefit from the method LHoist will use to bring the product into Minot. Thank you to the city council for working hard for the citizens of Minot and working within the process and procedures established when awarding bids.