Committee OK’s Purchases

WINNSBORO – County Council’s Administration and Finance Committee, chaired by Council Chairwoman Carolyn Robinson and filled out by Marion Robinson (District 5) and Mary Lynn Kinley (District 6), gave approval Monday evening to a laundry list of expenditures to be recommended to full Council at their March 23 meeting.

The Committee gave the OK for the recommendation to purchase a new grader for $153,799, replacing a 12-year-old grader used in maintaining County roads, as well as two replacement dump trucks for the Public Works Department, at a cost of $149,992. A pair of zero-turn lawn mowers, at a cost of $16,050, eight new roll-off containers for $34,463 and a new track hoe for $121,189 were also recommended for purchase for the Solid Waste Department.

The Planning, Building and Zoning Department, if approved by the full Council, will be replacing its 2001 Ford Crown Victoria, 2003 Chevrolet Blazer and 2008 Jeep Liberty with two new Chevrolet Colorado pickup trucks and a full-sized Chevrolet Silverado four-wheel drive. Total cost for the new vehicles, which are slated to be purchased from the state’s system, will run the County $69,238. However, County Administrator Milton Pope said Winnsboro’s local Chevrolet dealer will have the opportunity to match or beat the state’s price.

The Committee also recommended a new contract for landscaping maintenance on several County properties, approving a bid that came in so low as to raise the eyebrows of one Committee member.

“When I look at some of these bids, somebody must have been smoking dope,” Marion Robinson said. “It just blows my mind somebody comes in this far from everybody else.”

The bid in question, which beat out other contenders, was submitted by Asbury Landscaping of Laurens and came in at $34,500 for the year, well under the County’s budgeted $56,136. Robinson confirmed that Pope and his staff had spoken with Asbury’s other clients to confirm their quality of work, yet still was taken aback.

“We met with them, and I believe it was a father and son,” Pope said. “They don’t necessarily just manage (employees); they work. And they’re hungry. Other companies didn’t have any problems with them. Keep in mind, if they don’t perform we can always cancel the contract.”

Asbury will take on landscaping duties at the County Government Complex, the Courthouse, the Midlands Technical College campus, both phases of the Walter Brown Industrial Park and at the spec building at the Fairfield Commerce Center. Pope said that while County employees handle much of the rest of the County’s landscaping tasks, it was more cost effective to privatize that portion of it.

The County Detention Center is also in need of attention, Pope told the Committee, particularly to its 15-year-old roof that is beginning to fail. Pope said leaks have appeared in the building that are having an impact on the jail’s operations. While there are plans to replace the roof in the 2015-2016 budget, an assessment on the roof needs to be done in advance of that work. The project was put out for bid, Pope said, and he recommended (and the Committee approved) Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc. for the job.

The company, which recently completed a review of projects performed for the County by S2 Engineering, was recommended over two other firms – Davis & Floyd and Mead & Hunt.

“All of them were qualified,” Pope said. “We liked them a little bit better on how they had laid out what they would do, and their pricing on the assessment was less, or in the middle.

“Some of the other companies, the County has done a considerable amount of work with,” Pope added, “and we’re looking to involve some new people.”