BOC approves heavy equipment purchase
One bidder upset with being disqualified
BY ANGELA GARY
New tractors, graders and other heavy equipment will soon be rolling through Jackson County.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night in a 3-1 vote to purchase heavy equipment for the road department from Yancey Brothers Company. Commissioners Bruce Yates, Dwain Smith and Tom Crow voted in favor of this, while Jody Thompson voted against it.
The agreement with Yancey Brothers calls for the heavy equipment the county currently uses to be traded in for the new equipment. The county will be able to obtain $4.6 million worth of equipment for a cost of $1.8 million, after the $2.7 million total trade-in allowance. The equipment will come with a guaranteed buy-back value of $2.5 million, so, after three years, the county is guaranteed $688,979 more in trade-in value than was spent on the equipment.
Three of the bidders on the project were disqualified because county staff said their bids did not follow the guidelines. Representatives from one of the companies that was disqualified, Tractor and Equipment in Hoschton, was at Monday’s BOC meeting to air their concerns about the process.
Bert Blackburn of Tractor and Equipment said the company did provide a warranty, although staff said they did not. The guidelines asked that a three-year warranty be offered. The company’s bid included a six-year warranty instead. Staff also noted that the company did not provide a buy-back price on all of the equipment that they bid.
Finance director John Hulsey said that if the company’s request was reconsidered, the entire project should be rebid because two other companies were also disqualified.
Blackburn said the problems with his company’s bid were “technicalities” and they could be addressed. He added that the county would save $150,000 by using a local vendor.
County manager Darrell Hampton said it is the responsibility of the bidder, not the county, to clarify any confusion about the process.
Hugh Smith, one of the owners of Tractor Equipment, said, “I wanted this bid to be fair. That is all I ask for….To state I was disqualified for my warranty and it is right here in the bid…I don’t understand it.”
BOC chairman Pat Bell said, “When staff tells me our bid process is not flawed, I have to believe it.”
In other action at the meeting Monday night, the BOC:
•approved a request from recreation director Rick Sanders for a full-time maintenance position to mow grass and maintain the 35-acre East Jackson Park. The impact on the budget will be $26,000.
•approved an agreement with the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority for the relocation of existing water lines within the North/South Apple Valley Road and State Route 15 Alt. intersection project.
•agreed for the chairman to execute a contract with CSX Transportation for the John B. Brooks Road improvement project.
•renewed the contract between the county and the Georgia Department of Corrections for the care and custody of up to 174 inmates housed at the Jackson County Correctional Institute.
•agreed to purchase three vans for the building and grounds department. The money will come from the fleet reserve funds.
•agreed for staff to compile a proposed intergovernmental agreement for the county to use for joint projects.
•after meeting in closed session for only a few minutes, agreed to offer the owner of a “piece of identified property” more than the appraised value of the land. No further details were given.