November 26, 2020

PPA: Chairman Boone’s response (Part 5)

Chairman Boone’s continued response:

In 2016, there were a lot of questions regarding the equipment I was acquiring through the Federal Surplus Program.

Before the 2016 election, I submitted articles that were published in the local paper detailing how the program worked.

I requested an item listed on the site, and if I was awarded the item it was “Donated” to the County. The fees associated with the allocation were for administrative costs to support and sustain the program.

The County is required to retain the property for a number of years before it can be sold or traded.

Public Works, Fire/EMA and Sheriff were the biggest beneficiaries from this program, which consisted of well maintained equipment with very low hours and miles, and some that had actually never been put into service.

Commissioners who inquired about the program were shown how it worked, and the “Pennies on the Dollar” costs for individual items.

They could not believe that such items as dozers, rubber-tired loaders, fifth-wheel trucks, tandem dump truck, 40 ton mobile crane, bucket truck, 100 kw generators and lowboy trailers were acquired for only $100.00 each.

Each one understood and applauded the decision to acquire equipment that we could have never afforded on the open market.

My opponent made no inquiries to understand the surplus program, nor expressed any concerns or issues the entire 5 years she was a Commissioner.

Now that she is a candidate, it has become a “Major” campaign issue that she failed to address as Commissioner. My opponent stated in a campaign video that $115,000.00 dollars of taxpayer money has been wasted on equipment.

I have not requested any big items since 2016, and the market value for all items is approximately $3.5 million dollars.

At $115,000.00 this equates to a 97% savings of open market value. This was a great investment for the County, and I stand by my decision.

A public auction was going to be held on May 30, 2020, but due to the Covid outbreak, it has been postponed until another date can be set when this event is over.

The State of Georgia submits annual bids for numerous items that is called State Procurement, and the bidding process finals are listed on a website for public view.

Heard County “piggybacks” off this procurement program, saving time and money purchasing items that have already been pre-bid by the State.

Almost every County and City is aware of this program and takes advantage of these discounts. It is perfectly legal and allows local governments to directly purchase items at substantial savings from State buying power.

A declarative statement by my opponent that all purchases over $5000.00 must have 3 bids clearly demonstrates how out of touch she really is even after serving 5 years as District Commissioner.

My opponent alleged that I am engaging in “contracts” over $5000.00 without board approval.

This allegation is totally and completely untrue.

As Chairman, I have never signed any contract with a company or vendor guaranteeing a payment over $5000.00 for any performed service or product without Board approval.

My opponent also stated in her article that a County Ordinance needs to be “reinstated” to enforce such actions.

If a Commissioner has any reason to believe that contracts are being executed without Board approval, they have total access to all files and financial documents in the office upon request.

If I were doing all the things she is alleging, why during the 5 years as a Commissioner, did she make no requests for any specific documents, asked no questions, and raised no issues or concerns with me or bring it before the Board? Now that she is a candidate, this is just another “Major” campaign issue that she failed to address as a Commissioner.

During the 5 years she was on the Board, no Commissioner has ever accused me of wrong doing.

I am not perfect by any means, and the decisions I make as Chairman are always with the best interest of Heard County in mind. Sometimes you learn things you wish were known prior to a decision being made, and I am sure everybody has experienced a hindsight 20/20 moment.

As Chairman, public expectations and demands are the biggest part of my everyday challenge, and sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns to get things done.

I saw a lot of momentum building for our county this year, then the virus showed up and shut everything down. I am determined to reignite that momentum when this event is over, and I need your support to keep our county moving forward.

To be continued…

Lee Boone, Chairman

Heard County Board of Commissioners

 

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