Barbour County Sheriff's Office

A total of 10 new 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicles for the sheriff’s office were approved by the Barbour County Commission during the October meeting, with the county sheriff’s office paying for half of the new vehicles.

After a discussion about the vehicles and some clarification on the Alabama Bid Laws, a unanimous vote of the commission was recorded, as were the details of the purchase.

A quote given by an out of town company to Sheriff Tyrone Smith for a price on the lights, graphics, partitions for the new patrol vehicles, and new radios for each vehicle brought questions about the state’s Bid Laws into play during the meeting. After receiving a price for less than the dealership could provide and install the equipment and graphics for from the company and presenting it to the commission, the Sheriff was told that if the equipment and installation had to be bid out because of the price being over $15,000, that company could not bid on the project.

“We have run into this before,” County Administrator Raye Ann Calton told Smith. “With anything that comes through the commission office, the bid laws apply. If the total dollar amount of work will be over $15,000 then the project has to be bid out if it is not covered on the state bid list. That means that any company that gives a quote on something that ends up having to be bid out, then that company or person is ineligible to submit a bid for the work to be done.”

The purchase price agreed upon by commissioners was $39,957.14 per vehicle. This price is reported to include everything except the graphics that will go on the outside of the vehicle marking it as a Barbour County Sheriff’s patrol vehicle. The additional graphics for each vehicle could cost an estimated $575 above the purchase price of the vehicle.

Five of the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe vehicles that will be purchased will be done so by the Barbour County Commission Office -- three through a three year lease-purchase agreement and two through an outright purchase from the fund balance. Calton reported that a portion of the cost of one vehicle will be recovered due to an insurance reimbursement of a little over $18,000 that the commission will receive for a wrecked patrol car.

The remaining five vehicles will be purchased through the commission, Calton noted that it is illegal for individual departments under the county commission’s governance to enter into a contract; the county commission has to enter into the contract on the behalf of the department instead. The sheriff’s office will reportedly make the payments on the SUVs from their budget. The amount that was reported by the Sheriff to be financed would be $190,002.70, with the annual percentage rate added in Smith said the total would be $222,968.17.

“There are two ways we can pay for the cars,” Smith said. “The first is with 10 semi-annual payments of $22,296.82, and the second is five annual payments of $44,593.63. I think the best way for us is the annual payment, that way we have the rest of the year to get the money for the next payment.”

There are currently 14 operational patrol cars in the fleet of vehicles being used by the sheriff’s office, with one additional vehicle deemed as inoperable. The year of the current patrol vehicles ranges from 2007 to 2016, with an average of 40,000 miles per year being put on each patrol car.

The delivery date of the 10 new vehicles for the sheriff’s office is not know at this time according to the commission and the sheriff’s office due to the GM strike that has taken place in recent weeks. According to the sheriff’s office, there are more than 800 Tahoe SUVs on back order from Chevrolet.

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