published Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Marion County board rejects low bid for rescue truck

By Ryan Lewis, Correspondent

KIMBALL, Tenn. -- City administrators said they had no choice but to reject the low bid for new rescue equipment and instead approved a bid that cost the town about $9,000 more.

Last week, officials said the lowest bid for work on a new rescue truck came from Custom Truck & Body Works Inc. in Woodbury, Ga., for $91,950. The bid is only for the rescue "box" that sits on the chassis and holds the rescue and medical equipment and doesn't include the chassis or the driver's cab.

"We went over the bids pretty carefully, trying to go with the lowest bid," Kimball Fire Chief Jeff Keef said. "One problem that we ran into with the lowest bid was that they showed no proof of insurance on the bid."

Keef said he spoke with a representative from Custom Truck and was told the proof of insurance was included in the company's bid package.

"Those bids were opened [at city hall] publicly. There's nothing else in that bid package," Kimball Mayor David Jackson said.

The call for bids was "very clear," Kimball Attorney Billy Gouger said.

"It says that in your bid package you have to have proof of insurance coverage, general liability and products liability," he said. "The insurance had to be in the minimum amount of $15 million. Custom Truck & Body had no proof of insurance. They had no insurance certificate in their book. I looked at every page in that manual, and there's nothing."

Keef said that one of the bid sheets dealing with the truck's lighting system had been left blank as well.

"I know that their bid is about $9,000 cheaper, but they didn't meet the specs," he said.

Gouger said the board legally cannot accept a bid that does not meet all the specifications no matter how much cheaper it is.

City leaders voted to accept the bid from Southern Emergency Products in Flintstone, Ga., for $101,004.

"Really the only spec sheet that we've got that meets the specs is [Southern Emergency Products']," Keef said.

In October, the board approved the purchase of the truck's chassis for $43,593 from Moss Motor Co. in South Pittsburg, Tenn.

Officials said there is a 270-day deadline for delivery of the vehicle and the cost for the work will go into the next year's budget.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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