Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller said he will be purchasing four new police cruisers after July 1 using the state-approved contract after a local dealership withdrew its offer.
Miller had approached the County Commission about purchasing four Ford Expeditions from Jenkins Ford in Buckhannon for about $27,000 each, which is the same price as is offered by Stevens Ford in Madison, the dealership which has the state contract. But because that cost exceeded the state-required $15,000 standard that requires purchases be put out for competitive bidding, Upshur County Administrator Willie Parker said Miller should inquire to other dealerships in the region to see if they would be willing to meet or beat the state contract price.
Miller later said he asked other local dealerships for their cost on the police vehicles, and none were willing to sell the vehicles at or below the state-offered price. He added that Jenkins Ford eventually withdrew its offer.
Because the sheriff's department will be making the purchase from the state contract, it will not have to go through another competitive bidding process.
"He can purchase from the state or any governmental agencies who have a contract without bidding," Parker said. "They have done the legwork, as far as the bidding is concerned."
Though Commissioner Donnie Tenney said county officials want to purchase services locally as much as possible, Commissioner Creed Pletcher said there needs "to be a level playing field.
"Some of the dealerships were not even aware it was happening," Pletcher said. "That's not fair to the other businesses."
Miller had approached the commissioners prior to the start of the new fiscal year because Jenkins had asked that the orders be placed before June 20. The money for the new vehicles is in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and Miller can purchase those vehicles without formal commission action.