County delays major purchases after questions about bidding process

Published 8:45 am Friday, June 28, 2013

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners asked to delay several expenditures related to construction of a new landfill cell, in order to request additional information about the bidding process.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, County Administrator Gary Breedlove told the board that construction will soon begin on Cell No. 4 at the county’s landfill. This 4.5-acre expansion will take a little more than a year to complete, he said.

Breedlove said that two pieces of heavy equipment are needed to complete the construction in a timely manner. One is a tractor with an offset disc harrow, and the other is an off-road dump truck.

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Breedlove told the board that the low bidder for the tractor was Ag-Pro of Bainbridge, which bid $67,250. He also said the low bidder for the dump truck, which would be a monthly rental, was Yancey Bros. of Albany, Ga., at $6,800 a month.

He said the county received two other bids on the tractor, and one other bid for the truck rental. Breedlove noted that existing county-owned equipment is not capable of effectively moving the kind of dirt at the landfill site. He also recommended purchasing a new tractor, because it could then be used for additional landfill expansion construction in the coming years.

Breedlove said the cost of the equipment was included in the GEFA (Georgia Environmental Finance Authority) loan the county had taken to construct the new Cell No. 4.

However, when the time came for the board to vote on the recommendations, several commissioners had questions about the process.

“It doesn’t look like we’re comparing apples to apples here,” Commissioner Jan Godwin said. “It looks to me like one of the dealers bid on a larger tractor than the one we asked for. I make a motion to table this until we have more time to look at it.”

Commissioner Dr. David C. Mosely also asked to table the tractor purchase for a later meeting, noting that he was unhappy his information packet contained no documents related to the proposed expenditure.

“I will second [Godwin’s motion], and I would like some backup information for these big expenditures, in the packet prior to the meeting, if at all possible,” he said.

Mosely also said that he believed the county should look at other avenues rather than buying a new tractor. He noted that used tractors are regularly sold at equipment sales at a significant bargain.

Commissioner Frank Loeffler voted against Godwin’s motion, while Godwin, Mosely and Commissioners Oliver Sellers and Dennis Brinson voted in favor.

Earlier in the meeting, Loeffler had made a motion to rent the dump truck for $6,800 a month, but the motion died for lack of a second.

In other business, the county:

• Heard from Charles Proctor, with Gold Star Ambulance, who told the commissioners that his county was interested in bidding for the county’s EMS service if it ever decides to privatize it.

• Heard from Jim Overman, a member of the Solid Waste Committee, who asked for the county to provide more frequent updates on the status of the landfill.

“I think it’s important the citizens know how their investment is doing, and that their interests are being kept at heart,” he said.