If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
From Staff Reports
The Greene County Board of Supervisors held its first public ‘reverse’ auction on Monday as part of efforts to purchase new equipment for the road districts and the waste collection system.
Reverse auctions are a state-mandated system of purchasing with the intended purpose of making sure state agencies and local governments get the lowest prices possible for goods and services they need. The previous method used by county officials was to request sealed bids from vendors, allowing officials to choose between the bids to get the “lowest and/or best” option for the public money being spent.
Reverse auctions, which are now required in Mississippi for purchases above $50,000, are typically held online where bidders can log onto a website and submit bids to try to get the business or contract. In a typical auction, the seller is seeking the most money possible for an item being sold. In reverse auctions, the idea is for the buyer to get the lowest possible price on an item as vendors compete to see who can provide the goods or services at the lowest cost.
Greene County is one of numerous Mississippi counties that can forego the online process based on population. However, county officials are still required to go through the reverse auction process.
The new mandate has caused quite a bit of confusion around the state and here in Greene County. In fact, even attorney Roun McNeal, who provides legal counsel for the board of supervisors and is also a member of the state legislature, has struggled to provide clear guidance about the new way of conducting business..
“We are all playing with training wheels on this issue,” McNeal said while attempting to lead the reverse auction process between two bidders at Monday’s meeting.
At stake were the contracts for one or more dump trucks and garbage collection trucks supervisors intend to purchase. Supervisors recently placed advertisements seeking bids on the pieces of equipment. Burroughs Diesel, Inc. and Tri-State Equipment each submitted bids on both items and had representatives at Monday’s meeting. Burroughs was the low bidder on both items with a bid of $139,421 on the dump truck and $193,650 on the garbage truck. Tri-State offered to sell or lease-purchase the equipment to the county for $145,505.70 and $226,482.96, respectively.
After the bids were opened and read aloud, McNeal allowed 15 minutes for the bidders to adjust their bids, presumably with the intent of allowing Tri-State the opportunity to reduce their pricing. After 15 minutes, and no changes to the bids, the bidding was closed and supervisors took their decision “under advisement” so officials could look over the offers submitted.
After taking care of a variety of other issues, supervisors came back to the bids, and after a good bit of discussion, opted to take the higher bids by Tri-State in both instances. The total difference in the sales prices on the equipment was roughly $39,000, but supervisors justified their decisions based on Tri-State’s guaranteed buyback offers, along with other considerations, such as product delivery timelines.
Bridge concern in Dist. Two
Supervisors also heard from two trucking company owners from Dist. Two who said their businesses were being negatively impacted by new weight restrictions placed on a bridge on Loper Settlement Road near State Line.
Willie Franks, of Franks Trucking, and Angelo Franks, of Triple F Trucking, were on hand at the meeting to ask for clarification on the recent posting of an 8-ton load limit on the bridge in question. Franks question the need for the restriction and ask who had inspected the bridge to determine the need for the load limit downgrade. Dist. Two Supervisor Morris Hill said he had made the determination himself, adding that an outside inspector was not required for the county bridge.
“This was a call made directly by me,” Hill said. “Is it an inconvenience? Yes. But, public safety comes first.”
Hill did not elaborate on what conditions caused him to change the load limit for the bridge. However, when questioned by Franks about school buses crossing the structure, Hill said he was working with the school district to come up with alternatives, but that school buses would not be allowed to cross the bridge either.
In the end, Franks said he had looked at the bridge and taken photos and could not see any obvious problems. He told the board members he would like to see an inspector, other than Hill, evaluate the condition of the bridge.
“I want someone to come inspect it that knows what they are doing,” Franks added.
There was no discussion on Franks request and no action taken by the board.
Turner named Veterans Service Coordinator
Sue Turner will soon be taking over the office of Greene County Veterans Service Coordinator. The current holder of that position, Billy Harvison, has announced he will soon be retiring and recommended Turner for the position.
Supervisors voted to appoint Turner to the position upon Harvison’s retirement and to approve the expenditure of county funds for Turner to attend the required training for the position as soon as possible.
Acting on questions from local political candidates regarding campaign signs, Greene County Herald editor Russell Turner asked board members if there was a policy in place related to the removal of signs from county right-of-ways. State highway officials regularly remove signs from state roadways and take them to the nearest maintenance headquarters where they can be retrieved by the owners. On Monday, supervisors said there is no such policy for county roads.
Dist. Four Supervisor Wayne Barrow said he had concerns about the issue as well as his road crews would soon begin spring mowing along roads in his district. He said, in the past, some signs have been picked up by Dist. 4 employees and taken to the district headquarters, but he didn’t think that was the best option for an election year, saying he believed the intent could be misconstrued, if he or his crew removed or relocated the sign of a candidate running against him this election cycle.
Dist. One Supervisor G.L. Dearman said the state had the labor available to pick up signs that county supervisors do not. He said signs placed on the county right-of-way would simply fall victim to the mowing operations.
“If they (signs) are in the bush hog right-of-way it’s (the mower) is going to get them,” Dearman said. “We don’t stop, we take them out. We’re not going to get off and move them.”
Dist. Three Supervisor Jerry Mills said he wanted to give people the opportunity to advertise their campaigns and that his crews would make every effort to avoid damaging signs. However, he agreed that candidates should avoid placing signs in the road right-of-way.
The county supervisors’ next meeting is set for Monday, April 22, at 9 a.m.