Hopkins County Commissioners Court approved dump truck, tractor/loader and work truck purchases as well as company from which to purchase, road, bridge and culvert materials; and to hire for asphalt paving. A new employee was introduced and a user license agreement was approved for the County Clerk’s Office.
Truck and Equipment Purchases
Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley got the go ahead to purchase two 2022 model Mac dump trucks through a TIPS purchasing cooperative contract $185,806.08, so the county was not require to go out for bids on them. He plans to finance the trucks. Three lease purchase proposals were submitted, from Bank Corp. South’s was 2.59 percent interest, Guaranty Bank 4.29 percent, and CNB Bank 3.20 percent.
Bids specifications requested rates for 6 years or 7 years of financing. The best option was 72-month contract to be paid back at a 2.59 percent interest rate to Bank Corp South. The county has never done business with that financial institution before; it’s the company that was through the Mac company he is buying it from.
Bartley said these trucks are badly needed. He shopped around for several months trying to find good, single action dump trucks with no luck. In September, he had four dump trucks in the shop at the same time. Without the dump trucks, precinct crews weren’t able to get much work done because they couldn’t get materials hauled to them. So, he ordered the two new trucks, which are now ready for delivery. He asked the court to approve the purchase of the two dump trucks through the contract service as well as financing through Bank Corp South at a rate of 2.59 percent over 72 months, with payments starting January. The court unanimously approved the request.
Bartley also asked the court to consider approving purchase of a Case tractor/loader from Farm Country through TIPS contract for Precinct 3. American Rescue Act funding is available to help the precincts be able to afford the needed equipment, which will be put to work on roads, the Precinct 3 commissioner said. The tractor can be hooked up to a shredder. Precinct 3 has 2 shredders, one that is broke down most of the time along with a tractor, which has allowed for very little shredding this year. The quote is for $67,800 for the Case equipment.
The court approved the purchase of a Case tractor/loader from Farm Country for $67,800 through TIPS using $67,800 to be paid for using the Rescue Act funding so work can begin soon on roads in most need of significant repairs.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price then sought approval for the purchase of two Chevrolet 2-wheel drive 6500 work trucks from Caldwell Country Chevrolet through BuyBoard purchasing cooperative at a rate of $55,310 per truck. Price noted the bid is for trucks without beds. He said he looked at a 2015 International, a comparable sized truck similar to the ones he proposed buying, with 26,000 miles on it for which the seller was asking $55,000. A bed will have to be put on the trucks for about $12,000 more per truck. There’s a possibility Precinct 4 will be able to move the bed on the truck currently in use to the new truck.
Road, Bridge, Culvert, Materials Bids
Aulsbrook presented to Hopkins County Commissioners Court during their Oct. 15, 2021, regular court session, bid packets with all of the bids and prices submitted for road materials, oil sand, road oil, sealant and culverts. She asked each commissioner read for the record his first through third choices of who to purchase which materials from. Road materials include any rocks purchased, including iron ore and crushed concrete, she noted.
Bids were received from Richard Drake, Arcosa, Seaton, RK Hall, Commerce Sand and Gravel, Wood County Asphalt, P2 Emulsions, Bryan & Bryan, Blazer, BASA. Aulsbrook recommend accept all bids so that if one of the providers does not have what the Commissioner needs or wants, then the county official can purchase from one of the other providers who placed a bid, but would not be able to buy from a company that did not submit a bid. The court followed Aulsbrook’s suggestion and approved all bids submitted.
Only one company, Yoder, responded to the county’s request for bids for clear span concrete bridges and concrete culverts, which was included in the bid packets provided to the commissioners prior to the meeting, Aulsbrook noted.
Barker noted that Yoder has in the past done some repair work for Precinct 1 and built a bridge in Precinct 2 prior to Greg Anglin’s service as commissioner.
“I think it’s time for the county to move forward with contracts for bridges. So all the bridges will be standard. So, I move that we do approve Yoder as our bridge contractor,” Barker said.
The motion was seconded by Anglin, and receive unanimous approval of the Commissioners Court.
Aulsbrook also reported only two bids were received for asphalt paving work, one for $93,450 per half-mile from Texana Land and the other from Area Wide Paving for $89,000 per half-mile.
Barker noted the bids are prime examples of the way materials costs, oil, are currently and expected in the future to be even more expensive. One of the bids was higher than he’d like for it to be, but recommended that the county go with the low-bidder for asphalt paving.
Anglin asked if both could be accepted. Aulsbrook explained that each commissioner must select their choice and go with that one. Barker asked what option the county would have if their selected business was busy when they were ready for asphalt paving in their precinct.
Especially with materials and staff shortages along supply chains being experienced currently, each should have an alternative company to turn to to get the job done in a timely manner, even if it costs more for the other company to perform the work. Aulsbrook noted that the county is already having a difficult time getting multiple companies to bid for these services; selecting more than one company for asphalt paving would result in even fewer submitting bids. She spends days working on the bid process, getting companies to submit bids, and the companies too spend a lot of time working on the bids that are submitted.
Barker too noted a situation the county encountered in some past year, where the cheapest product is not always in the long run the best option. On past occasions, Bartley said, if he had difficulty getting certain materials delivered on time, in some cases due to frequent breakdowns of delivery trucks but no notification of delayed deliveries, so he’d go with a different vendor who would get the material to his precinct when requested and did so with “a whole lot better service.” While it cost more, that vendor remained in contact, especially if there was an issue that arose which would delay delivery of materials.
“To me service is worth something, even if we’ve got to pay a little bit more for it,” Bartley said.
Barker clarified that the prior instances Bartley referenced were not from asphalt paving companies, but was a supplier of other materials.
Bartley said he can’t speak to the quality of service from the two bidders because he’s never used them. But, there is something to be said for quality of service. He too has experience difficulties in getting bids for certain materials.
Barker said he would hope that some of the contractors in Hopkins County would get on board and submit bids so services could be from local vendors if possible. Aulsbrook noted bid packets were sent out to all local builders, but none opted to submit bids.
Price noted that the frequently changing prices on materials, which are almost higher by the time the bids are opened, so it’s hard for them to give quotes for costs when they don’t know what they will be.
Barker said the issues with asphalt paving bids is that the commissioners cannot guaranty a specific number of miles to be paved during the contract year. He believes the county would receive better bids if they could guaranty a certain number of miles to be paved each year.
Barker voted to use Area Wide Paving for asphalt work. Anglin said he was unfamiliar with either one because he’s never done asphalt paving and doesn’t plan to do so in the near future either.
Aulsbrook said if he changes his mind, he did need to select a vendor at the meeting.
“You can say my first choice is Area Wide Paving, and if he can’t get to it, I want to use Texana. But, the more we do that, the more I have trouble getting people to bid. I do understand your point also, completely,” Aulsbrook said. “If you pick first choice, and you go over here to get it, and I get an open records request wanting to know why I was chosen as the vendor, you have to answer to that.”
“Anytime I don’t go with first choice is because of the availability or the service,” Barker said.
“You just have to be able to explain it,” Judge Robert Newsom said.
With that option, Barker recommended selecting Area Wide Paving as the first choice and Texana as the second to provide asphalt paving. Joe seconded the motion, which was approved by the Commissioners Court.
If anyone wondered why the process and bids generated so much discussion, it’s because, “Historically, not in Hopkins County I’m sure, but in other places it might have happened that competitive bidding was not followed. So somebody’s favorites were taken care of and not the best buy for the tax payers. That’s why the auditor is keeping us straight on it. Thanks you Shannah for that. We appreciate your advice,” Newsom said.
Other Court Business
The Commissioners Court recognized Precinct #2 Constable John Beadle for completing the four hour state and federal law update stemming from the 87th Legislative session held Oct. 8 at Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office.
“We have some of h the best law officials in the state of Texas. One is standing in the back there,” Newsom said of Beadle, who waited in the back of the courtroom during the Oct. 15 meeting.
Appreciation was also expressed to the sheriff’s office for hosting the class so Beadle and other officers didn’t have to travel out of town to attend the training session.
A user license agreement between Hopkins County Clerk and Permitium LLC was approved. County Clerk Tracy Smith explained that there is not cost to the county to enter into the agreement, which will allow people to order copies of their birth certificates, of death certificates or certified copies of their marriage licenses.
“They have all the information. They do what they call vital verify, make sur it is that actual person that’s requesting it. They do all work on the back side of it: getting the form, the application filled out, proof of ID, payment. It only comes to us once they’ve verified all that. If we verify it and print, we would make a copy then. They do all the work instead of my employees having to stop and take time. Local people could do it if they wanted. They do charge a convenience fee, that’s how they make their money. We could actually add a fee for postage that we’ve never charged before. They do all the processing up to that,” Smith said.
The agreement would allow the clerk’s office personnel to direct people who call from out-of-town to request a copy of their birth certificate to direct them to the website instead of the a lengthy process involving multiple calls, emails and credit card processing.
Smith then introduced her new staff member, Courtney Winstead, to the court. She’s goin to replace an employee who has accepted a position with a law firm. Another employee will take over probate work in the Clerk’s Office and Winstead will fill the opening.