COVINGTON -- The Newton County Board of Education approved the renewal of four service contracts this month, but at least two board members want to consider changing that process in the future.
Some services for the Newton County School System, like pest control and janitorial and repair services, are bid out at one point. Sometimes, when NCSS asks the board to approve a bid, it includes a stipulation that the school system can rebid the service after one year but it can be renewed automatically for up to three years.
This month, four contracts came up for renewal and Deputy Superintendent Dennis Carpenter asked the board to approve each of them -- Cox's Mid-Georgia Pest Control, Associated Paper for custodial services, Beam Enterprise LLC for maintenance and repair of kitchen equipment, and Indigo Energy Partners LLC for diesel fuel.
Carpenter said NCSS is pleased with each company from a services standpoint and a financial standpoint.
For about $25,000, which is not an increase from last year, Cox's Mid-Georgia Pest Control of Grayson will continue to provide services. Beam Enterprise LLC out of Covington will provide maintenance and repair on major kitchen appliances for $130,000, which also is not an increase from last year.
The contract with Associated Paper will cost about $560,000 for the year, a 2.86 percent increase, to provide custodial supplies, repair and service to equipment, training and planning using an environmentally friendly program.
And NCSS will continue its contract with Indigo Energy out of Alpharetta to obtain diesel fuel for about $1 million, which is not a price increase and is determined by the Oil Price Information Service Same Day Contract Average Gross, a widely used price benchmark, said Carpenter.
Although the original contracts were approved by the school board, member Eddie Johnson and Chair C.C. Bates showed concerns with automatically renewing contracts like this and not sending them out for rebid each year.
"I think they should all go out for bid," Bates said after she opposed the renewal of each contract except the one with Indigo Energy. "If we could lower the price, I think it would be beneficial. Right now, if we are looking for ways to save money, we could."
In some cases, she also said it could be cheaper using local sources, although Carpenter said sometimes local companies do not bid for the services.
Board members Almond Turner and Johnny Smith voted for the renewals, and Cathy Dobbs was absent from the meeting.
"Cheaper is not always better," Turner said.
Johnson also showed concerns for the renewals but did not vote against them.
"Cheap is not always good, but in the future, I hope we look" to rebid, he said.
Carpenter said just because the contracts do not go out for rebid each year, the renewals do not necessarily mean NCSS isn't getting the best prices.
"In an off-beat year, we do competitive calling and quoting to make sure we are in (the same and competitive price) range," he said, adding that sometimes it costs more in time and money to retrain new staff and get acquainted with new companies.