JASPER, Tenn. — Since joining the Marion County Commission in 2018, Commissioner Steven Franklin has questioned just about everything the board has done.
At the board's May meeting, Franklin continued that when County Mayor David Jackson said the county's only litter truck is a 1999 model that workers can't get started anymore.
Officials put out bids for a new Ford or Chevrolet truck chassis, but they only got one response from local dealer Moss Motor Company in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, for a 2019 Dodge Ram 3500 Crew Cab or a 2019 Ford F-350 Crew Cab for $30,000.
Jackson said he couldn't find a state bid on the Dodge model, but the state bid price on the Ford is $28,291.
"We're talking about $1,800 difference in the price for the state bid [and the local dealer], and that's a dealership out of Murfreesboro," he said.
Franklin questioned why the county had to buy a new truck.
"Why can't we look at something a couple of years old and save a few bucks?" he asked the board.
"That was the recommendation of the [board's] sanitation committee," Jackson said.
Commissioner Mack Reeves said there was usually little difference in price of a low-mileage used truck and a new one.
Commissioner Tommy Thompson said the county has owned the current truck for 20 years for less than $1,000 per year.
"You can't own a vehicle for that many years any cheaper," he told Franklin. "So, get a brand new one with a warranty on it and forget it."
Franklin said if he was going to question every purchase made by county entities such as the Marion County Board of Education, then he was going to question purchases made by the commission, too.
"It's taxpayers' dollars for everything, and it all adds up sooner or later," he said.
The board voted unanimously to accept the state bid on the Ford model.
When purchased, the bed from the old truck, which is still in good condition, will be transferred to the new one.
Marion's solid waste department is interested in buying the old truck, officials said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.