County Commissioners Approve Emergency Lift Purchase

SNOW HILL – County officials this week approved the emergency purchase of a vehicle lift.

The Worcester County Commissioners agreed to spend slightly less than $34,000 to buy a new vehicle lift. The request came after an inspection revealed one of the two lifts used by the county’s fleet management division needed to be taken out of service.

“The large lift was deemed to be not serviceable,” Worcester County Public Works Director John Tustin said. “It was suggested it be taken out of service due to age, corrosion and normal wear and tear.”

Tustin told the commissioners the two lifts used by fleet management were inspected every two years. The latest inspection, which took place in early December, revealed that the four-post lift should be taken out of service immediately. He said lifts typically lasted 20 years and the lift deemed to be in poor condition was 23 years old.

“We knew it was coming we just didn’t budget for it,” Tustin said.

Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw asked why it hadn’t been budgeted.

“I can’t answer that,” Tustin said. “Sometimes we budget in advance. We didn’t do it this time. That’s all I can say. It was operating very well until about six months ago.”

Tustin said two bids for the new lift had been received and he recommended going with the low bid of $33,421.75 from National Joint Power Alliance.

Commissioner Chip Bertino asked where the money to cover the new lift would come from. Chief Administrative Officer Harold Higgins said it would be covered by positive variances in other areas of the county’s fiscal year 2018 budget.

“Typically an amount like this, when it’s all said and done we go through that year end process,” Higgins said. “This usually falls within that realm of the ability to move monies around at year end.”

Commissioner Jim Bunting pointed out that the second bid, which was only $500 more than the recommended bid, was from Salisbury Automotive Inc.

“I’d much rather see us buy it from a local company,” he said.

Commissioner Ted Elder agreed.

“They’re a very reputable company,” he said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to select the bid from Salisbury Automotive.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.