The city of Fresno purchased nearly 63,000 face masks for about $137,000, documents reveal.
Last week, the Fresno City Council voted to mandate masks at all businesses, whether indoor or outdoor.
The city is also providing masks to its employees. Additionally, in May, Mayor Lee Brand announced the city was donating masks to businesses and the public.
Reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city purchased 62,900 masks for $137,035.40 from four different vendors.
The city bought 20,000 3-ply masks from White Horse Imports, LLC — a Fresno-based company — for 43 cents each. With tax, it came to $9,286.11 total.
William’s Imports Co., Inc. sold 6,000 KN95 masks for $3.25 each. With tax, the total was $21,055.71.
The name Peter Chang appears on both the White Horse Imports and William’s Imports invoices.
The city also bought another 30,000 KN95 masks — labeled on the invoice as FDA certified — from Onan Capital Inc for $3.15 each. The invoice did not show a tax, so the total was $94,500. Onan is listed as a medical supply company out of Nashville, Tennessee.
The final purchase order was for 4,800 Bella face masks, sold by Cintas Corp — a national company with an office in Fresno — at $2.20 each. With shipping and tax, the total came to $12,194.16.
According to the documents from the city, it appears on Cintas charged a shipping fee, $792.
The information came from a GV Wire℠ public records act request.
Most Conservative Councilmembers Approve
“I fully support it. That’s what the CARES money is for. We obviously need the PPE.” — Councilman Garry Bredefeld
Two of what can be considered the most conservative members of the Fresno City Council applauded the purchases.
“I fully support it. That’s what the CARES money is for. We obviously need the PPE,” said Garry Bredefeld, representing northeast Fresno.
Northwest Fresno councilman Mike Karbassi agreed.
“The City Manager did the right thing to purchase as many masks as possible. Despite the pandemic, the City has a responsibility to continue providing essential services to our hardworking, taxpaying residents,” Karbassi said via email. “Furthermore, we were able to distribute masks to local small businesses who were having a difficult time acquiring them. Proper masks ensure the safety of the public and the city’s essential workers.”
Bredefeld expects the purchases to be reimbursed with federal stimulus money through the CARES Act.
Prices Vary on Internet Comparison
The city purchased the masks in April and May. Current prices vary, but some appear to be lower.
For 3-ply masks, a listing on Amazon shows a 50-count box for 19 cents a mask.
Home Depot is selling a 50-pack box of 3-ply masks for $29.98, or 60 cents a unit.
KN95 mask prices vary greatly on the internet but tend to get cheaper in bulk. A current 50-pack on Amazon costs $129.99, or $2.60 a unit.
Bella masks, a softer-cloth style of mask, is offered at Office Depot for $12 per 10-pack, or $1.20 each.
View City’s Documents on Mask Purchases