The Carroll County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved $180,000 to go toward the purchase of each of four new John Deere mowers for the public works department, despite concerns from 5 separate local businessmen who expressed frustration that local sellers never had the opportunity to beat or match the proposed price.
Carroll County Government looked to the state bid of approximately $180,000 for the high end tractor, which they say are more durable and have a longer reach heavy duty boom arm for tough mowing jobs.
Local businessmen Sam Duke and Larry Coors were the first to approach commissioners about their concerns on Tuesday.
You can get the exact same equipment, spec-for-spec and pound-for-pound, for $160,000. I just think that this is the countys money. This is the tax payers money. We are going to spend an extra $160,000 to $170,000 when it doesnt have to be spent, commented Sam Duke.
Larry Coors also had this to say, You have not placed these items out for bid and you have not speced them out correctly to be able to put them out for bid. You should take the opportunity that you have available to place the items out for bid so that you can best spend the taxpayers dollars.
Despite the comments, commissioners voted to approve the state-bid contracts with only Interim-chairman George Chambers voting against. District Two Commissioner Clint Chance defended his support of this particular model tractor over other brands offered locally:
Safety wise, as far as the cab, the heavy dutiness of the tractor, the application in which it is going to be used with the side arm, these are the right tractors and the right fit. I did some further research. I have checked with some other municipalities. I checked with other government organizations. I checked with commercial farmers. Ive checked with commercial construction companies that have bought every brand out there. Every one of them said that they thought the John Deere was a superior product for what we would be using it for.
District Five Commissioner Lee Powers insisted other companies make comparable tractors to the John Deere but at a lesser price. Despite that, he did vote in favor of the purchase. Powers did request that in the future, Carroll County put similar bids out locally before accepting the state recommended bid.
Public Works Director Charles Pope said he expects the new mowers to provide 15 to 20 years of service.