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BOC discusses go karts, purchasing policy

COVINGTON — Newton County Commissioners held a work session Thursday to discuss a proposed purchasing policy and proposed zoning regulations for go-kart facilities.

Dan Moore of Atlanta Gran Prix Karting is proposing a go-kart track off I-20 in west Newton. There is currently no documentation on file with the Department of Development Services stating the location of the property, and Moore has in the past declined to release that information. But the current ordinance excludes tracks for motorsports from allowed uses under commercial outdoor recreation facilities.

As a result of the amendment, there is currently no use in the ordinance that a go-kart track would fit under. Drafting of an ordinance amendment is currently taking place. The discussion Thursday mostly centered around buffer requirements. Commissioners said they preferred a 75-foot buffer from residentially zoned property, with no principal buildings or structures located within 25 feet of any property line.

Commissioners also said they would support any future applications on a case-by-case basis regarding fencing requirements. One provision in the draft ordinance that would have required opaque fencing along the entire property could be cost prohibitive, they agreed. The ordinance amendment is expected to be on the agenda for the regular meeting Tuesday night, set for 7 p.m. at the Newton County Historic Courthouse.

Also discussed Tuesday will be an updated purchasing policy.

One change to the purchasing policy is a provision that would allow for preference to be given to local vendors who bid on a project. If a local vendor is within 5 percent of the low bid, that vendor will have the option of matching the low bid price. That way, “you still get the competitive pricing there that you would to start with,” said County Manager John Middleton.

Preference to local vendors could be given on purchases and contracts of up to $100,000, or $20,000 for transportation projects.

“This is probably one of the bigger changes to our policy that we’ve not had in the past,” said Middleton. “I think it’s important to us as a county to recognize our businesses and give them the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.”

The policy also sets a threshold of $50,000 and over for when purchases of capital goods and supplies must be approved by the Board of Commissioners. For contracts for service, the threshold is $5,000 and over.

Comments

dennistay53 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm against this local preference policy on bidding for these reason. It could add to higher tax and higher bid amounts. It very well could decrease the number of bids coming in with out of county bidders not wanting to take part in the process where even if they have the low original bid they want get the job due to the local option. The more bids you get usually means the cheaper you can get the work done. It could also very well lead to good ole boy politics in the bidding process. If the locals want the job they should submit the lower bids.

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tstark 1 year, 3 months ago

I agree. OCGA 36-84-1 allows a local government a preference for goods products manufactured in the State of Georgia. I could not find any authority for local vendor preference under state law. This gives the good ole boys an advantage over out of town vendors. They get to modify their bid to get the business they want and they get the option not to modify if the competitive bid is too low. This policy is too protective. All businesses have risks to bear. The playing field should be level for everyone.

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

Have to totally agree with this post. Especialy when the county claims they have a tight budget and can only do WWII inner tube type patch work jobs on certain steets in subdivisions - Eastwood Forest to be specific. A 5% savings (maybe more if a greater number of bids are submitted) on a significant project is a bunch of money. I say if you can't play with the big boys get out of the game. Oh the big boys should have a higher overhead cost due to infrastructure size and more than likely have a current business license. As an old saying goes "If you want to fly with the eagles, don't hoot with the owls."

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Del 1 year, 3 months ago

Evidently the policy " Commissioners said they preferred a 75-foot buffer from residentially zoned property, with no principal buildings or structures located within 25 feet of any property line." was not adhered to when the Salem Rd / Brown Bridge Rd Extravaganza was built

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dennistay53 1 year, 3 months ago

I spoke against this local option preference at the county commission meeting tonight with no luck. It was voted in 5 to 0. Of course most of these commissioners either own local business or kin to ones that do.

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John 1 year, 3 months ago

Strange how things work at time - ived in a small village once upon a tiem an area of high property tax rates 9liek 2900/year for a 1/4 acre lot & home in 1975) and there was a plot of land 61+ acres than was right in the middle of village boundries - kinda' like a donut hole in side the outer village limits. This donut hole was considered to be in the county vs the village (tax avoidance reasons fo sure). But there was a code on the village books that said any undeveloped property less than 60 acres had to be annexed into the village limits. Hmmm!

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