Polk County Bid Committee - March 2019

Assistant County Manager Barry Atkison and County Commissioner Scotty Tillery go over bid figures during the Bid Committee’s latest work session. / Sean Williams

Polk County is finally looking to purchase some of the items previously approved on their FY 2019 Capital Improvement Plan, and after receiving bids on everything from tanker trucks to air bottles, the bid committee will be forwarding on the best deal possible for decision later by the full commission in April.

The March 20 meeting served as an opportunity to open the bids and discuss the numbers the group has to work with. For larger purchases, the county is required to solicit bids, and after discussing their options with the bid committee, the Polk County Board of Commissioners will make a final vote on their vendors.

Bid participation was higher than usual with upward of seven different companies that offered prices for the four 2,000 gallon tanker trucks the county is looking for. The lower bids proved to be Southeast Apparatus LLC at $198,000.00 each, Pierce at $218,772.00 each, and Deep South Fire Trucks at $214,683.00 each.

The least pricey offer is not always the one offer that gets approved. If the lower priced trucks have a much longer delivery period or lower quality, the committee might agree to recommend a higher priced vendor instead. The group always vets each offer for quality, hidden costs, and the warranty and serviceability of products, among other criteria.

At $120,364, Rush Truck Center proved to be the lowest bidder for the tandem truck, and at $33,250.00, Rome Hydro-Test was the low bidder for 70 air bottles.

The committee found additional numbers in the Rome Hydro-Test submission, and unsure if there were additional costs worth looking at, agreed to spend extra time digging through the bid. NAFCO International’s offer of $44,617.30 would be the second lowest for the air bottles.

The committee members had little discussion afterwards, but Assistant County Manager Barry Atkison reflected on the solid bid participation the county was having lately.

“We are getting pretty good participation,” Atkison said. “They’re going out on the government procurement website, we send them (bids) to anybody who has bid our projects in the past that we’re aware of.”

Atkison also showed approval at the idea of keeping a bidder list that they could use to send solicitations to for an even higher participation rate.

“We need to start keeping a bidder list, that way when we’ve got something we shoot it out to them automatically,” Atkison said. “I think its something we’ll work on the rest of this year. Getting that built up.”

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