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Putnam County Commission raises threshold for competitive bids

By Kara Moore

WINFIELD -- The Putnam County Commission will no longer solicit official competitive bids for goods or services that cost less than $15,000, commissioners decided Tuesday.

The bid threshold has been $5,000, but state law allows counties to raise the threshold to $15,000, county project manager Dusty Hurley told commissioners.

Surrounding counties, including Kanawha, Cabell and Mason, have already raised their bid thresholds to $15,000, Hurley said.

The county will still seek competitive bids and try to get the best value for goods and services, but it won't have to go through an official process with associated costs and timetables than can slow down smaller projects.

Commissioners also voted to pay three bills for the county health department Tuesday morning.

The health department ran into financial trouble after its former director resigned earlier this year. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is providing services in Putnam Coutny while a state audit is underway.

In the meantime, rather than giving the health department a quarterly donation as usual, the commission will pay the department's outstanding bills directly as requested by the board of health.

Tuesday the commission approved paying $15,000 to GDY, LLC, in overdue rent on the department's space in the Teays Corporate Center, and two bills totaling more than $14,000 to West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency.

In other business,

* Commissioner Steve Andes reported that the fire board met July 11 and heard a fire fee appeal from Foster Supply. Andes said the board denied the appeal, but he invited the company to come before the county commission for further discussion.

Last year commissioners voted to raise fire fees by 50 percent. The fee hike was the first since the county's fire fee was instituted in 1986, and the board contended it was needed to keep up with costs and continue to provide fire service.

* Opened two bids for two new van ambulances. J&J Emergency Vehicles in Morgantown bid $74,200 each. Northwestern Emergency Vehicles in North Carolina bid $76,806 each. Commissioners approved the low bid pending review.

* Reminded the public that new emergency warning sirens will sound today as a routine test on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Sirens are located at fire stations but will not be used for fires. They will sound only for county-wide emergencies and will give voice instructions when appropriate.

* Reminded the public of a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 30 at the courthouse.

The Putnam County Commission meets at 9 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the county courthouse in Winfield. The commission will have a special short meeting at 8 a.m. Monday to approve budget revisions. All meetings are open to the public.

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