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Low bid for sheriff's department purchase comes in almost $30,000 under next bid

There were several re-appointments to important positions at Thursday’s county commission meeting. With no opposing nominations, Chairman Freddy Phipps, Vice-Chairman John Brookshire, and County Attorney Bill Cockett were all unanimously confirmed for another term. Additionally County Mayor Larry Potter submitted the proposed list of committee appointments, which also met with approval from the commission.
County Purchasing Agent Doug Hammons presented his findings concerning the acquisition of a new control panel for the sheriff’s department. Bids for the panel had been discussed at last month’s meeting but the final decision was tabled because of price variations. The two bids presented showed unusually wide differences in cost, with the high bid coming in at $46,000 and the low at $16,823. With a nearly $30,000 gap, there was concern that the specifics of the two offers might not be same.
As a result Sherriff Mike Reece spoke with representatives of both companies to ensure that the product and services being offered were equivalent. After going over all the specs, Reece found that although both were offering comparable equipment and work, there was a big difference in installation time and fees. The higher bidding company required two weeks installation along with a large daily installation fee, compared to a three-to-four day installation time from the low bid.
Along with a one-year warranty, the low bid company also offered maintenance contract options where the high did not. Reece went on to say that he had looked into the low bid company and found it to have a very good reputation and experience in installing similar panels in prisons and jails in many different locations. Because the control panel is essential to day-to-day operations at the county jail such as operating the various door locks, there was need to make sure the county was making a wise purchase. With approval from the purchasing committee, sheriff’s department, and the budget committee, the commission opted to accept the low bid unanimously.
County Attorney Bill Cockett announced that the final step had been taken in closing the lawsuit concerning the historical display in the county courthouse lobby. Following the placement of two posters by Ralph Stewart, a disclaimer was posted specifying that any display in the courthouse is not necessarily the opinions of the county or its affiliates but were placed there by individuals and organizations. This disclaimer was a part of the settlement for the case and was accepted by the full commission.
Commissioner Mike Taylor addressed the commission concerning a decision that was made at last month’s meeting. Following a discussion of speed limits on Divide Road, the commission had decided to reduce the speed from 55 to 50 mph and eliminate a dangerous passing zone near the city water department. Taylor announced that the new signs had been placed and the passing zone painted over but also noted that a 30 mph sign was also posted just outside of the city limits. Taylor questioned why the sign was posted and asked that the problem be corrected. Road Superintendent Tony Jennings was not in attendance at the meeting but County Mayor Potter stated that he would be in contact about the sign. Potter also noted that there needed to be additional signage on the side of the road coming into town as well.
During committee reports the mayor announced that work had begun on filling the cracks at the airport runway, and paving should begin shortly after. There was also an update on two ongoing projects in the county. Potter stated that, barring any further complications, the Sutherland Community water project should soon become a reality, and plans have been also been presented by the forest service concerning renovations to the Sink Valley Boat Ramp.
With no other business on the agenda and no further comments from the commission, a motion was made by Commissioner Dean Stout to adjourn.