The Union Recorder

May 22, 2013

County approves purchasing policies favoring local venders

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County Commissioners approved documented purchasing policy guidelines that include a local vendor preference. The board agreed Tuesday that any local vendor within 7 percent of the lowest bid has five working days to match.

The way the local bidder preference portion reads all county purchases with an estimated cost at $100,000 or lower fall under the policy. The board amended the handbook draft’s sliding scale ranging from 3 to 7 percent depending on estimated total cost, settling instead at a flat rate of 7 percent. 

All things considered equal, the local business gets the nod per the new handbook.

“The dollar amount will not change,” Commissioner Henry Craig, District 4, said. “It's only that we will give greater opportunity to local bidders to participate.”

This policy defines a county bidder as one with either a current valid business license or a physical address within county lines, both for at least one year prior to the procurement award.

Studio Designs owner and local business advocate Travis Strickland said the City of Milledgeville operates the 7 percent mark in its local vendor preference as well.

“The vendors that are already bidding on jobs for the city are accustomed to that,” Strickland said. “This will be consistent across the board.”

According to Strickland, local vendors are reaping benefits from the county preference.

“There has already been one local job that normally would have gone to an out of town bidder that stayed here,” he said. “Thirty-three thousand dollars stayed here in our economy versus going to Statesboro.”

• Decision on stagnant tax sales properties coming soon

County Manager Ralph McMullen said numerous individuals have approached the county about the status of 54 regular foreclosure or judicial tax sale, also called “knocked off,” properties under the county’s control.

“We’ve had a number of inquiries concerning some individuals wanting to purchase these properties. Just about every week we get additional phone calls,” McMullen said.

The county manager said several properties, the majority of which are located in District 1, probably wouldn’t fit into a land bank master plan.

Judicial properties are ready to sell, and the regular foreclosure properties must stand for one year before a sale is allowed. All the regular category spots meet the more than one year detail.

“My concern is that these properties have some obstructions on them and of course other than eye sores, they are hazardous,” McMullen said.

Citizen Scott Little spoke to the board about the 101 Pine St. property that backs up to his residence.

Little said the blighted home is completely overgrown. People are also going into the house for criminal activity.

“There are several of us in the neighborhood that would love the opportunity to purchase the house,” Little said. “That would be a chance to turn this into a nice property and a great neighbor as opposed to the eye sore it is.”

Craig suggested the board assign a committee to formulate a quick decision regarding the sale of knock off properties. 

“The community and the county need the revenue. There are some people that need to move on,” Craig said.

Emily Davis, District 1, and Craig were assigned to prepare a decision by the next board meeting.

• ORMC pledge process all but signed

Commissioners approved the resolution giving chairman Sammy Hall, District 3, the right to sign the Oconee Regional Medical Center Intergovernmental Contract and Continuing Disclosure Certificate pledging county support of borrowing of up to $30 million to refinance existing bond debt and provide new monies. Operating through the Georgia Hospital Authorities Law, ORMC asked for a county ad valorem tax pledge not to exceed 3 mills for 15 years.

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