On Wednesday, the Marshall County Commission voted to rescind bids for brake services after the sheriff’s department complained it was causing an undue and confusing burden.

Four bids items for brake services were awarded in September; two to B’s Express Lube in Guntersville and two to Westmoreland Tire in Albertville.

B’s agreed to charge the county $89.99 per axle for standard brake pad service and $290 for high-performance pursuit pads plus rotors per axle. Westmoreland agreed to charge $209.99 for standard rotor and pad service and $128.47 for high-performance pursuit pads (no rotors).

Sheriff Phil Sims said the way the bids were written, a county vehicle could potentially have to go to both mechanics to complete the repairs depending whether standard or high-performance pads were needed or if the vehicle needed new rotors. 

If a deputy went to replace his brake pads at B’s Express Lube, for example, but then discovered his vehicle was also in need of new rotors, he would be forced to leave B’s and go to Westmoreland to do both rotors and brakes or pay for the more expensive — and ostensibly unnecessary — high-performance package. 

Sims said this back and forth was causing confusion and complicating what should be routine maintenance.

County Attorney Clint Maze agreed with Sims, saying, “The irony is that this is all because we were trying to use the bid law and save the taxpayers money, instead we’ll wind up costing the taxpayers money.”

Maze recommended the commission rescind the bids and wait until the cost for brake repairs neared $15,000 — the threshold for when county projects must be bid out to the public — and then decide how to move forward with a new bidding process.

“It’s not an issue until we approach or hit the $15,000, but once it’s 15,000, then that’s the big issue, and it needs to be bid,” Maze said.

He added that any county vehicle’s brake maintenance would contribute to the $15,000 and not just law enforcement vehicles.

The commission voted unanimously to rescind the bids.

In other business, the commission:

• Announced garbage exemption requirements for the 2020-2021 fiscal years. Anyone whose sole source of household income comes from social security can apply for the exemption from garbage fees from Nov.1 - Dec. 31.

• Approved adding Friday, Nov. 27 and Dec. 24 to the holiday schedule per Gov. Kay Ivey’s recommendation.

• Approved replat of Lot 1 and 2 of the Marina Subdivision by adding 10 feet of construction space to the southside setback, reducing it from 30 feet to 20.

• Approved a payment request to Wilks Tire & Battery for $75.

• Approved the purchase of a pony motor for a drop-deck trailer costing $3,300 from the Countywide Fund.

• Approved the purchase of a Volvo excavator from state surplus for $85,000 from the Countywide Fund.

• Approved a snow removal agreement with ALDOT for the 2020-2021 fiscal years. The county agreed to assist the state in clearing state roads from snow, though county roads would take precedence.

• Approved rebidding for the Council on Aging’s food bag program. The council said it was recently awarded a $65,000 grant by the USDA and plans to use the funds to purchase food for the program.

• Approved an agreement with Avenu Insights and Analytics, LLC, to store microfilm for the probate office for $1,800 per year.

• Approved increasing the budget line item 541 (equipment and furniture $5,000+) $93,000 from prior year rollover.

• Approved continuing to lease a Metro Trailer for the sheriff’s office for $845 per month, month to month for 12 months starting December 2020. The sheriff’s office has been using a trailer for its lobby and reception area while renovations to the jail are being completed.

• Approved an agreement grant with the Alabama Department of Youth Services for fiscal year 2020-2021 for $166,068.

• Approved readvertising and rebidding for the Marshall County Animal Shelter.

• Reappointed Chairman Hutcheson as Commission Representative to the Marshall County Community Correction Board of Directors.

• Approved three Emergency management performance grants: $1,792 with 50% match; $12,000 with no match; and $43,986 with no match.

• Approved the sale, trade or scrap of fixed assets including furniture and a golf cart.

• Appointed EMA Director Anita McBurnett to the P25 Radio Advisory Committee.

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