Town of Cleveland

Question raised about purchase

“In my opinion, it was a very good purchase,” said Steve Pass, utilities supervisor for the town of Cleveland.

The purchase in question has drawn the attention of a couple of very vocal critics – and they have begun a very outspoken campaign to draw attention to the action.

The issue is the purchase earlier this year of a jetter, a device used to clean and service sewer lines and mains. Pass says the jetter is needed by the utilities department because he was constantly having to borrow from the Oneonta Utilities Board.

“They were always nice (about the town borrowing equipment) but it got to the point that we really needed our own,” he said.

Question raised

A letter to the editor published in the Sept. 24 edition of The Blount Countian questioned the purchase. In the letter, local resident Kelly Evans took issue with whether the jetter purchase was handled through state bid law and who sold it to the town.

A copy of the requested invoice from the utilities department shows the jetter was purchased from Rodders and Jets of Sumter, S.C., for $14,895. The equipment was ordered on April 1 and delivered in two shipments on April 7 and April 15.

The Alabama League of Municipalities Handbook is very clear concerning the purchase of equipment by a utility and its regulation according to state bid law.

The handbook says, “The purchase of equipment, supplies or materials needed, used and consumed in the normal and routine operation of any waterworks system, sanitary sewer system, gas system or electric system or any two or more thereof, that are owned by municipalities, counties or public corporations, board of authorities that are agencies, departments or instrumentalities of municipalities or counties and no part of the operating expenses of which systems or systems have, during the then current fiscal year, been paid from revenues derived from taxes or from appropriations of the state, a county or a municipality. The requirements of the Competitive Bid Law do not apply to purchases of equipment, supplies or materials needed, used and consumed in the normal and routine operation of the county water and sewer authority. However, if the authority’s purchase of equipment, supplies or materials exceeds $50,000…it is subject to the provisions of the Public Works Law.”

The jetter purchase is not subject to state bid law because it does not reach the required $50,000 threshold.

“We just want the truth, that’s all,” said Evans.