Mayor Burns calls for more bids on major purchases

After skipping a year and not purchasing new vehicles for the city police department, the Cairo City Council on Monday night voted to approve the purchase of three new vehicles over the objections of Mayor Bobby Burns.
The mayor expressed his belief that the city should solicit bids for the new police vehicles and not request a single bid from only one local dealership.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said that Chevrolet does not offer a vehicle with a police package and the vehicle offered by Ford is a front wheel drive automobile, which police department officials do not want.
“That’s the reason the decision was made to go with the Dodge Chargers and we have been transitioning to the Charger and we’d like to stay local,” Addleton said.
“I just think it is the prudent thing to do. It would please me to no end if Stallings was the low bidder, but in the interest of the taxpayers I think that is what should be done,” Mayor Burns said.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas agreed with the mayor that additional bids should be solicited in the future, but he warned that with a 15 week delivery estimate the city would be pushing it to get the vehicles here before the end of the fiscal year on June 30 if the process was delayed to obtain additional bids.
Councilman Ernest Cloud said that even if the vehicles cost a little more to buy them from Stallings he said the savings to purchase from out of town dealers would be eaten up by the cost of carrying the vehicles out of town for the warranty work.
Mayor Burns asked if Stallings would not perform the warranty work if the car was not purchased from them and Councilman Bobby Gwaltney commented, “They probably would, but they would not be happy about it.”
Mayor Burns said the Stallings’ quote may be a competitive bid, but the city would not know that unless they solicited bids from other dealers.
“In the future we need to solicit bids on all vehicles from various vendors,” Councilman Douglas said after making a motion to award the bid for two Chargers for the patrol division and a Dodge Durango for the investigative division at a total cost of $77,389 to Stallings Motors. Douglas’ motion was seconded by Councilman Gwaltney and passed unanimously.
The council had budgeted $84,000 in the current operating budget to purchase new public safety equipment. The money to purchase the new vehicles will be taken out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds earmarked for public safety equipment.

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