Huntsville, TN (2010-01-11) Months after Ambulance Director Jim Reed notified the Emergency Services Committee of the need for new ambulances, the Scott County Commission has agreed to remount three ambulance boxes on new chassis.
In November, Reed presented the County with maintenance records on the ambulance fleet, documentation that revealed three trucks were rapidly depleting the department’s maintenance budget. While the County had earlier agreed to purchase a new ambulance, given the cosmetic condition of the boxes on the Ford trucks in its current fleet, the County opted instead to remount those boxes onto General Motors’ chassis.
In December, Scott County let bids for remount services, receiving four bids; however, two of the bids submitted, those by Select-Tech, Inc. of Shelbyville, TN and Southeastern Specialty Vehicles of Benson, North Carolina, did not meet specifications.
Finance Director Keith Jeffers presented a bid sheet to the Finance Committee Monday night, during a meeting held immediately prior to the full Commission meeting. In that meeting, the Committee recommended accepting components of two bids, one from Peach State Ambulance in Georgia and the other, Taylor Made Ambulance in Arkansas. If acceptable to the bidders, one unit would be taken to Peach State, while Taylor Made would build the other two. By splitting the bid, the County could maximize its savings; however, at the meeting, it was unclear on whether or not Taylor Made would honor its combo bid for two remounts instead of the anticipated three. Given that uncertainty and immediacy of the project, the Committee further clarified its position, stating that in the event Taylor Made refused to honor its lower bid based on multiple units, then all three would be awarded to the Arkansas company.
In the original bids, Peach State Ambulance, which had only one 2009 GM chassis available, would remount one unit for $54,369. The other two trucks would cost considerably more, $62,539 each and were subject to the availability of chassis. In its original bid, Taylor Made would charge $67,470 for each ambulance remount; however, after discussing the bid with Reed, Taylor Made agreed to remount all three vehicles for a total of $180,000. With the Finance Committee separating the two bids, the County will have to negotiate with Taylor Made to be certain the lower price would apply to just two units. Should the company not be willing to honor the informal price, the County would contract with Taylor Made for all three units at $60,000 each. While it would about $500 more than Peach State’s original bid, Taylor Made reportedly had all three chassis in stock and guaranteed it would complete work on the first two trucks within 45 days of receiving the order. The third truck would be ready for delivery in about 90 days.
Since two trucks would simultaneously be out of service, Reed noted that Taylor Made was also offering to loan the ambulance service a truck during the remounting process. One of the three units slated for retooling is already out of service.
If Taylor Made will accept the County’s counterproposal, then theoretically, all three units could be roadworthy in as little as 60 days. Given the service’s current run volume, the department, stated Reed, could not afford to have all three units out of service at the same time. However, at the suggestion of Commissioner Paul Strunk, Reed acknowledged that Peach State might also be willing to either loan or rent another truck to the County for a nominal fee.
A motion by Commissioner Willie Boyatt to accept the Finance Committee’s recommendation passed 11-0, with Commissioners Leonard Bertram, Odeva Byrd, and Jeff Watson absent.