CRESTVIEW — Councilman Tom Gordon wants city departments to purchase equipment and supplies from local businesses as much as possible.
Gordon, referring to three otherwise routine purchase approvals from the March 24 consent agenda, sought assurance that local vendors were allowed to bid on them.
Assistant Public Works Director Carol Jones assured Gordon that his department accepted bids from local and regional bidders for baseball uniform shirts needed for the March 31 season openers.
"We want to give the bid to a local person, but we also look to save as much money as we can for the taxpayers," Jones said.
The winning bid of $8,600 for 1,013 uniforms was submitted by Signs Galore, a Crestview company, which handily beat the next closest bid of $13,665 plus shipping by an out-of-town vendor.
Purchase of a $17,288 Toro Pro 5040 ball field conditioner was necessitated by the current 1996 machine's frequent breakdowns that cost more to repair than the machine is worth, Jones said.
With baseball registration at more than 1,000 players — topping last year's 774 — a reliable machine is needed to maintain Durrell Lee Park's ball fields for 504 games in 10 weeks, Jones said.
While no local vendor carried the type of machine needed, a local Toro equipment dealer may qualify for credit for the sale from the regional supplier, Jones said.
Gordon also questioned the fire department's purchase of five sets of firefighter turn-out gear for $8,360 after "uniforms" had been specifically removed from the department's tight budget.
Fire Chief Joe Traylor explained the purchase was a matter of firefighter safety, was made to replace worn-out gear and was not considered a uniform. No local vendors sell the equipment, he said.
Councilman Shannon Hayes said he saw the need to monitor city expenses and purchases, but as a council, "I think we micromanage too much stuff within our city."