Road Superintendent purchases new SUV

Published 8:46 am Friday, June 1, 2018

A proposed purchase of a new vehicle for the Carter County Road Superintendent that sparked controversy earlier this month has now been completed according to county records.

The Carter County Finance Department confirmed that Road Superintendent Roger Colbaugh had purchased a 2018 Ford Explorer XLT on May 16 at a cost of $36,939.

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The vehicle had been put out to bid, and the bids received by the county were opened on May 15, according to Deputy Finance Director Michael Kennedy. Three automotive dealers submitted bids.

Republic Ford, based in Republic, Missouri, submitted a bid for $47,454. Lonnie Cobb Ford, of Henderson, Tennessee, entered a bid of $46,991. Colbaugh purchased the vehicle from the lowest bidder, Neighborhood Ford, of Erwin.

The bid submitted by Neighborhood Ford included the State’s discount rate, according to Kennedy, who added the other two companies did not submit bids at the State’s discount rate. According to records obtained by the Elizabethton Star from the Finance Department, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the vehicle as purchased is $42,430.

“(The vehicle) was purchased the day after the bids were opened,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said Colbaugh did not have to take the purchase before the Budget Committee or the full Commission because he already had money in the proper line item of his budget to buy the SUV.

The proposed purchase sparked heated debate earlier this month during a meeting of the Financial Management Committee after some committee members expressed their concerns with the purchase as well as comments made to them by their constituents.

Some members of the committee said they had been contacted by citizens who are concerned with the purchase of the new vehicle saying it would cost the county $55,000.

At that time, Kennedy informed members of the committee that the price of the vehicle was not known at that time because the bids were still out and a cost wouldn’t be known until the bids had been opened. “I don’t know where that number came from,” Kennedy said of the $55,000 figure quoted by committee members.

Some members of the Financial Management Committee questioned the need for Colbaugh to purchase a new vehicle for himself as he had purchased one just four years prior. When asked by Financial Management Committee Chairman Danny Ward how many miles were on the truck Colbaugh is using, the Road Superintendent said “It’s in the 50s,” indicating around 50,000 miles. Ward then asked if a new vehicle was necessary, and Colbaugh said it was not.

Colbaugh is currently driving a pickup truck, and he said since he does not have to haul equipment around he is going to pass the truck on to someone else in the department for them to use. He said purchasing an SUV for his use would be cheaper than purchasing another truck.