By MATT KOESTERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — The Clark County Commissioners approved a bid for fuel at their Thursday meeting, but only after a spirited conversation and the board’s first split vote of the term.
The low bid from Makowski Oil, a Clark County-based company, was one of only three bids submitted for the county highway department’s fuel. The other two both came from Jackson Jennings Co-op.
Commissioner Rick Stephenson was not satisfied that three different companies didn’t place bids, and also expressed displeasure that the amounts bid were subject to change based on market conditions.
“I can’t tell you what [the price of fuel] is going to be like tomorrow,” County Engineer Brian Dixon said.
Dixon explained that the bids received were based on specifications provided by the county, and that fuel had been bid out that way for years. Makowski’s bid was $2.72 per gallon for gasoline, almost 50 cents per gallon lower than Jackson Jennings Co-op’s bids, but the bids were based on the price at the time the bids were submitted, Dixon said.
“So basically the prices on this sheet are worthless,” Stephenson said.
“They can fluctuate, yes,” Dixon replied.
“They’re worthless,” Stephenson reiterated.
Commissioners President Jack Coffman pointed out that the bids were submitted according to what the commissioners had asked for.
Dixon suggested to the commissioners that they vote to accept the low bid from Makowski and then shop Jackson Jennings occasionally to ensure that the best price was being paid at a given time.
Commissioner John Perkins motioned to accept Makowski Oil’s low bid, with a second coming from Stephenson. The vote was 2-1 with Coffman against.
Coffman said he’d prefer to have the flexibility to go to whoever has the lowest price.
PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE
Edward “Culpepper” Cooper and Barbara Swank-Gallegos of Neace Lukens, the county’s agency of record for property, casualty and worker’s compensation insurance, appeared before the commissioners to explain the process for how bids are obtained for the county’s insurance and to get permission to speak to county staff to aid in creating bid specifications.
The county is paid up through Aug. 1 on its insurance, Cooper said. Cooper said Neace Lukens will approach eight insurance carriers for bids on property and casualty insurance, and would be happy to get five responses.
“If you create competition, you get better prices,” Cooper said.
But Stephenson said he’d like to take it a step further and have several insurance companies soliciting bids for the county.
“Why don’t we open it up to everybody to come in to give a proposal?” Stephenson asked.
Perkins said that there’s a process to getting bids for insurance, and one of them is appointing an agent of record.
“It would be a free-for-all if 14 different small companies — some of the larger companies may not even bid,” Perkins said.
“I’ll take that bet. Let’s do it,” Stephenson said.
“I’ll bet you a nickel,” Perkins said.
“I’ll bet you $100,” Stephenson retorted.
The process of obtaining insurance through a contractual agent of record is flawed, Stephenson said.
The commissioners gave the Neace Lukens representatives permission to proceed in gathering information.