By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer
Cumberland County will purchase four new buses and two new special needs buses after the county's financial management committee approved bid awards during last week's meeting.
One out-of-state vendor, who was the low bidder, would have saved the county nearly $10,000, but was disqualified because they did not have a valid manufacturers license allowing them to sell in the state of Tennessee.
"The question was raised by one of the bidders if Don Brown Bus Sales of New York could sell in the state of Tennessee. They went to the state and asked and we received an email correspondence from the state that they do not have the license so the county can not consider the bid," Nathan Brock, Cumberland County finance director said.
An email from Leon Stribling, executive director of the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission, stated, "... Starcraft does not hold a valid Manufacturers License No. 101 permitting their product to be sold in the state of Tennessee. Don Brown Bus Sales, Inc. does not hold a license to sell motor vehicles in Tennessee..."
Don Brown Bus Sales submitted a bid of $137,608 for two Chevy Starcraft/Quest buses.
Lane McAnally, Cumberland County transportation director, then said since the county couldn't accept that bid, he would recommend the second lowest bidder, Mid-South Bus Center of Murfreesboro, TN with a bid of $146,350 for two Chevy/Collins Grand Bantam buses.
Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, asked, "Is it within the budgeted amount?"
"Yes, they are," McAnally replied.
Harvel then motioned for an approval and Nancy Hyder, 2nd District commissioner, supported the motion and it was unanimously approved.
Although Cumberland International was the low bidder for four International 2014 Conventional school buses at a rate of $339,800, McAnally recommended accepting a bid of $341,624 for four 2013 Thomas EFX Model 1318S school buses from Mid-South Bus Center.
Hyder asked if those were the same buses the county had been using.
"Have you had good luck with those?" Hyder asked.
"Yes, and they are built on an 84-passenger frame rather than a 78 passenger. They're sturdier and have more leg room," McAnally said.
Harvel moved for awarding the bid to Mid-South and it was supported by Scott Blaylock, Cumberland County Highway Superintendent. It was unanimously approved.
In other areas, the Cumberland County School Nutrition program bid award had to be changed to the second lowest bidder, Institutional Wholesale Cookeville, Inc. for various juices and teas because Gordon Food Services declined the bid award because of the small amount of items.
Brock said it probably wasn't feasible for the company to send a truck up here from LaVergne, TN for the small amount.
Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. said the bid difference between the two groups was very small and the total award was around $4,000.
It was approved after a motion was made by Hyder and was supported by Harvel.