Logan's environmental health director says there was nothing illegal about the city bypassing the competitive bidding process to buy equipment for its new automated garbage collection system.

Several trucking supply companies have protested the purchase, however, and former City Council member Darwin Larsen said Saturday the city should cancel its order and "follow its own purchasing ordinance," which says any purchase over $3,000 must be bid.Environmental health director Roger Stephens said he was approached earlier by a salesman for Vickers Truck Equipment Co. of Salt Lake City and told that Logan could purchase its equipment for the prices Brigham City got when it implemented automation in June 1989.

At the time, Vickers prices were $25,000 less than other companies quoted.

Logan's purchasing agent, David Wallace, said the city's purchasing ordinance contains a provision for "joint purchases under an inter-local agreement between public agencies."

Wallace said the only time Logan has made a joint purchase was with Utah State University when similar equipment was ordered at the same time.

"I was nervous about Roger's request because these purchases were more than a year apart, but we talked to City Attorney Scott Barrett who told us it was legal," he said.

Barrett was unwilling to comment on the matter other than to say he saw nothing illegal about the transaction.

Using prices from Vickers' 1989 Brigham City bid, Logan will pay $62.40 each for about 20,000 garbage containers and $106,000 each for five collection trucks.

William Brugger, owner of Tesco Williamsen Co., and Richard Heinz, general manager of H&K Truck Equipment Co., both of Salt Lake City, said Logan's failure to open the purchases for bids was unfair to taxpayers because prices change rapidly in the field.

They estimated the city could have saved $30,000 to $100,000 on the garbage cans and could have seen higher or lower truck costs depending on the city's specifications and the types of trucks purchased.

Ken Francis, sales manager of Great Basin GMC Truck Inc., said he has been trying to entice Logan officials to visit Great Basin's production plant in Ogden for several months because "trucks are cheaper now than they were a year ago."