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Police car battle to resume tonight

McMinnville officials will be eyeing new bids for a McMinnville Police Department patrol car Tuesday night after a past bid from an out-of-town dealership was rejected.
Safety Committee members Jimmy Bonner, Mike Neal and Rick Barnes voted unanimously in January to deny the current bid and go out for new bids in an effort to buy a vehicle from a local dealership. Barnes says he is in favor of buying locally.
“We went out for bids because we want to buy local,” Barnes said. “I don’t know how you feel about buying locally, but I think everyone should try to buy local. I work out of town, but I wait until I get back in town to buy gas.”
Rejected last month was a bid received in September 2012 for a 2013 Chevrolet Impala police pursuit sedan from Chevrolet of Murfreesboro in the amount of $20,695. At that time, officials accepted that bid over one received from Kidd Ford for a 2013 Ford police pursuit sedan in the amount of $22,596.
When another vehicle was needed by McMinnville Police Department, Police Chief Bryan Denton urged officials to accept another vehicle for the same $20,695 bid because the department was in a “minor bind” and needed a vehicle sooner than later.
“Time is not terribly of the essence, but the sooner we can get the vehicle the better,” Denton said.
When officials discussed not accepting the bid in an effort to go out for bids and maybe get a lower one from a local dealer, Denton warned it has been his experience bids do not change.
Denton’s experience was correct. The numbers received during a new bidding process were relatively unchanged, with Kidd Ford’s bid for a Ford being approximately 10 percent higher than the lowest bid submitted for a Chevy Impala.
Alderman Rick Barnes argued in September 2012 and in January 2013 he would rather buy locally. He says he will continue to push the point this month.
“The city is partnering with the Southern Standard and its Try Here Buy Here campaign, but we consistently buy our vehicles out of town,” said Barnes. “Terry Kidd’s bid is under 10 percent less than the lowest bid and it’s on a better product.”
Barnes says he called Terry Kidd, the owner of Kidd Ford, and asked about the state of his business.
“He has 28 employees with benefits and pays $700,000 a year in payroll,” Barnes said. “We say we want more jobs here, but we purchase items out of town. If you want more jobs here, you have to buy here.”
State law requires officials to offer a fair bidding process and accept the lowest and best bid, regardless of business location. Preference to a local business can only be given if the price and item offered is the same as a company that’s not local.
The meeting to discuss the bids will be held on the third floor of city hall and begins tonight at 5:45 p.m.

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