KIMBALL, Tenn. -- When city administrators put out bids for a much-needed new tractor for the maintenance department in August, they got no response from vendors.
Kimball Mayor David Jackson said two vendors stopped by City Hall to pick up the bid specifications, but neither submitted a proposal.
In August, maintenance department Supervisor Mike Nelson said a new tractor would cost about $31,000. The current tractor is deteriorating and may not last much longer, he said.
On Thursday, the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to rebid the tractor. But this time, the notice and specifications will be mailed directly to some vendors who officials think will be interested in bidding.
City Attorney Billy Gouger said that if there are no bidders, the town has two options.
"If you solicit bids and don't receive any, you're allowed to purchase it on the open market," he said. "A price can be negotiated outright, and you can buy it from a vendor. You can do that or rebid it."
Alderman Mark Payne said he didn't feel comfortable with the city buying such an expensive piece of equipment directly from a vendor.
"I'd rather solicit bids," he said. "You're talking about spending a substantial amount of money, and I'd rather go through the bid process again."
The city will have to publish the bid notice in local newspapers, Gouger said, but also can mail the specifications directly to vendors to "try to encourage them to bid."
"You still have to post it and review any bids that you receive," he said. "But there's nothing that says you can't send it directly to someone because they may never see your notice in the paper."
Sending out the bid specifications to a company that might be interested in bidding is no different from making the same paperwork available at City Hall after the notice has been published, Gouger said.
"You can always request that somebody bid," he said. "They don't have to bid, but as long as you provide the others the same information as your ad in the paper, you can send out bid specifications directly."
Payne said going through the bid process again would "keep things perfectly legal and out in the open like it should be."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.