|Piggyback bidding by county and city on gas|
|The Press - News|
|Written by Joel Addington|
|Wednesday, 19 October 2011 13:54|
The governments of Baker County, the City of Macclenny and, to a lesser extent, the Town of Glen St. Mary often collaborate on issues of common importance, whether it’s trying to minimize the proliferation of campaign signs at election time or improve local roadways.
But earlier this month, for the first time that Macclenny City Manager Gerald Dopson can recall, the city and county procured supplies together, specifically propane.
“It hasn’t been done very often,” said the 40-plus-year manager. “I can’t remember if and when we’ve ever done that.”
The suggestion to seek bids from propane suppliers together, and hopefully achieve some savings by doubling the volume of the purchase, actually came from a vendor.
“I wish I could say it was my idea,” said County Manager C.J. Thompson.The move has the potential to save both government offices thousands of dollars annually, depending on how much propane they use.
Mr. Thompson said the price per gallon bid by Southeast Propane of Glen St. Mary, the winning bidder of two local companies, was 16 percent lower than the original quote for supplying propane to the county’s 14 tanks totaling 3570 gallons of storage capacity.
By buying the gas with the city, which has five tanks totaling 3500 of storage capacity, he said the county saved 37 cents per gallon for the two year term of the contract at the $1.93 per gallon price bid by Southeast.
“We’ve always had a good collaboration with the city and we’re interested in exploring new opportunities to do so,” said Mr. Thompson.
He and Mr. Dopson believe each local government, and by extension its citizens, could benefit from such partnerships in the future.
Mr. Dopson said there’s likely an opportunity for the city and county to jointly bid the bulk purchase of road materials too, like lime rock or asphalt, to achieve some measurable savings.
“It’s things of that nature that would be to our advantage to look at,” he said. “Where it’s practical and feasible to do so, we’re encouraged to do that.”
The city, county and Glen St. Mary already partner in a number of areas.
They all share the cost burden of animal control services county-wide. The city and county split the cost of operating a yard waste burner on city-owned property north of Macclenny. The county’s Code Enforcement Board also hears cases originating in Glen.
Are these collaborations the beginning of consolidated government in Baker County?
“It all comes down to providing services to our citizens as cost efficiently as possible,” said Mr. Dopson, who is not an opponent of consolidated government.
Still, the city manager said, he’s not ready to become a cheerleader for it, either.
“I’ve always taken the position that if that’s eventually where it goes, then that’s where it will go,” he said. Mr. Dopson is also careful not to resist consolidation on the grounds that he and other employees could lose their jobs.
“If you’re seen as fighting it, you need to make sure you’re picking a fight for the right reason ... That’s the wrong reason to be against it,” said Mr. Dopson.
A recent poll at www.bakercountypress.com showed support for consolidated government within Baker County. Nearly 76 percent of the polls 75 respondents favored the idea, while about 24 percent did not.
|Last Updated on Friday, 21 October 2011 07:49|