The Decatur County 4-H program, in which local youth participate in hands-on agriculture and livestock education, will benefit from county commissioners’ purchase of a like new van from a local dealership, county officials said.
For the past 2 years, 4-H director Lindsey Bell Hayes and other staffers had been transporting 4-H youth to various competitions and conferences using personal vehicles. At their Tuesday meeting, Decatur County commissioners approved the purchase of a 2013 GMC Savana 15-passenger van from Action GM in Bainbridge.
Originally, Decatur County commissioners had requested bids on a large passenger van with a V-8 engine, although the bid was not specific to any manufacturer. However, of the four Ford dealerships who bid on the vehicle, only one (Action GM) submitted a bid that met the bid specifications of a V-8 engine. The other three dealers who submitted a bid were Riverbend Ford of Bainbridge, Franklin Ford of Colquitt and Brannen Ford of Unadilla, Ga.
County Administrator Alan Thomas said he later found out that Ford no longer made a van with a V-8 engine, so the three other bids were for Ford vans with a V-6 engine. Thomas said the main reason behind requesting a V-8 engine was that was the type of van Decatur County had always used, at the Decatur County Prison and elsewhere.
However, only receiving one bid that met the specifications, Thomas was ready to start over on a new bid. However, the county administrator was notified by Action GM dealer Randy Downing that there was a lightly-used 2013 GMC Sierra on the lot that would meet the bid specs. In fact, the 2013 vehicle had been previously borrowed by the county to transport Decatur County 4-H students on a couple of occasions, Thomas said.
The 2013 van was a company demonstration vehicle and had less than 15,000 miles on it. So instead of paying around $27,000-$29,000 for a new van, Decatur County commissioners were offered the 2013 van for just $22,000, a significant savings.
Lindsey Hayes said she really appreciates Thomas and county commissioners for arranging the purchase of a van. She said the van will be used to transport students from the 4-H office, where early morning practices are held in various disciplines, to the students’ schools. The van will also be used to take 4-H members to agriculture judging competitions, leadership events and 4-H camp.
Just the weekend before Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Decatur County 4-H students competed in a wildlife competition at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga.