Bids on communications equipment tabled for now

BY PATTI SELLS, News-Telegram Feature Writer

June 24, 2008 - The two bidders vying to supply radio and dispatch equipment for Hopkins County's emergency response personnel will get a chance to refigure their numbers after Hopkins County Commissioner's Court members tabled the two bids Monday.

Bids for removal and relocation of radio and dispatch equipment, new equipment and installation in accordance with Homeland Security requirements were submitted by Inter-County Communications Inc., the city's provider for the past 31 years, and Cato Communication of Commerce, which opened its doors in January of 2007.

The project has an equipment budget of $85,500. But Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix informed the court that more than $16,000 is already allocated for a Cisco system which connects communication between the fire departments, EMS and the police department.

Cato Communication, with a seven part bid of $52,487, beat Inter-County Communications' bid by more than $12,000, bringing questions from Inter-County personnel.

"Twelve thousand dollars is a lot of difference," said Jerry Knighten with Inter-County Communications, who brought forth discrepancies concerning the competition's bid using Motorola equipment without being a licensed Motorola dealer. "I can appreciate trying to save money, but this could be the most costly $12,000 y'all ever save."

Cato Communications owners Josh and Amy Cato were on hand to say that there have been changes in the equipment they would be able to provide since the bid was made, and they had to drop about $15,280 worth of radios and other devices from their bid.

Commissioners then moved to table the bids for now, and Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap invited both businesses to resubmit bids after Nix determines what communication equipment can be trimmed from the list to better meet the budget.

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