Members of the McDuffie County Board of Education approved the purchase of a new pickup truck during their regular meeting last Thursday evening.
School Superintendent Jim LeBrun said the system's fleet vehicles are aging and they desperately needed another vehicle.
"Just as we are in the practice of purchasing two new buses every year, I'd like us to get in the habit of purchasing two fleet vehicles every year also," Mr. LeBrun said.
Because it is a crew cab, the truck can be used by several departments in the school system, Mr. LeBrun said. New Georgia High School Association rules require a school administrator to be at every athletic event, and Mr. LeBrun said principals/assistant principals can use the truck for that purpose in addition to other transportation and hauling purposes.
Although members of the board agreed with the need for the truck, one member expressed concern with the lack of bids from local dealers. Bids were received from Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Georgia Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Milton Ruben, and Jimmy Britt Chevrolet Buick.
Dexter Lovins asked why there was no bid from Culpepper Ford. Mr. LeBrun said he had to personally call the owners of local dealerships and encourage them to place a bid after the system received responses from non-local dealerships. Because others were involved in the process, Mr. LeBrun said he did not know why there was no bid from Culpepper, but offered to get one if that was the board's wish.
Because the bids and anticipation of the BOE's decision was announced earlier that day on WTHO news, Bob Smith said it would not be fair to seek any more bids. Mr. Smith said he shared Mr. Lovins' concern, but the situation could not be changed. When Mr. Lovins repeated his concern, Transportation Director Butch Blount pointed out the last three vehicles purchased by the school system had been from Culpepper, and they continued to purchase parts from them for repairs.
Mr. Lovins seconded a motion made by Mr. Smith to purchase a 2011 Dodge Ram Crew Cab 1500 pickup truck for $23,702 from Thomson Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds will be used for the purchase.
"All around, this is an incredible deal," Mr. LeBrun said.
The vote passed unanimously. Board members Dorothy Hart and Ella Samuels were absent.