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Dougherty County Commission continues discussion of bid access for local vendors

Staff tells commissioners local projects are advertised in a number of ways

From left, Dougherty County Commissioners Lamar Hudgins, Jack Stone, Ewell Lyle, John Hayes, Harry James, Jeff Sinyard and Clinton Johnson gather Monday for the commission’s annual group photograph after its business meeting. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

From left, Dougherty County Commissioners Lamar Hudgins, Jack Stone, Ewell Lyle, John Hayes, Harry James, Jeff Sinyard and Clinton Johnson gather Monday for the commission’s annual group photograph after its business meeting. (Staff photo: Carlton Fletcher)

ALBANY — Dougherty County commissioners carried over their discussion of bid opportunities for local vendors Monday morning during the commission’s business meeting when District 5 Commissioner Harry James said he’d talked with local contractors about their interest in a restoration project at the county-owned Riverfront Resource Center.

James had expressed concern that no local vendor bid on the wall restoration project at the resource center’s Candy Room during the commission’s work session last week, and he said follow-up conversations led him to question the county’s attempts to notify local vendors about county projects.

“From my research, no local vendors were aware of this bid,” James said. “I have to question how we got the notice out to the community.”

County Clerk Jawahn Ware said she had used the “standard process” for notifying potential vendors about the project, which was awarded to J.J. Morley Enterprises of Alpharetta with a bid of $39,702.

“We advertise in the local organ, which is The Albany Herald, on our cable access (TV) channel, on our website and on TurboBid,” Ware said. “We’ve encouraged all our local vendors to use TurboBid; they can enroll at no charge and get updates on not just city (of Albany) and county projects but projects throughout the United States.

“We do have an exhaustive process of notifying local vendors about our projects.”

Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said that while the county had an obligation to “reach out to local vendors,” he noted that, “those vendors have a responsibility, too.”

County Administrator Richard Crowdis said, “We try to be consistent with every bid.”

James said that he did not question the process but was concerned that bid opportunities “sometimes fall through the cracks” for local businesses.

“I believe staff does a good job of getting the word out, but when vendors come to me with questions I have to bring those questions (to the commission),” James said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners:

— Voted to approve Tech Systems of Duluth’s $87,566.51 bid to upgrade the county’s proxy card system that allows certain employees access to the Government Center, the Judicial Building and the Central Square Annex;

— OK’d an off-premises alcohol license for Albany Express Convenience Store at 5736 Newton Road;

— Signed off on city/county Planning Service’s request to increase permit fees.