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Metzger wants to reject Mississippi scooter bid

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

City Councilman Ray Metzger wants to reject a bid from a Mississippi dealer to sell three motor scooters to the city, and to allow only Alabama dealerships to compete for the contract.

The Decatur City Council discussed the bid Monday evening at a work session regarding the June 18 meeting agenda.

City Attorney Herman Marks Jr. said, however, he's not sure if state law allows the council to limit bids to Alabama companies. The council can't reject the bid outright because the closest local bid is not within 3 percent of the lowest winning bid.

Marks said he would have an answer to the bid question at the next meeting.

Lake Hill Motors of Corinth, Miss., submitted a bid that's about $649 less per scooter than the second lowest bidder, Sports Center of Cullman, as only two of the four solicited dealers submitted bids.

Decatur Police Chief Ken Collier said the city favored the bid because Lake Hill's offer "was much, much lower." If the council approves, the city would spend $14,550 for the three scooters.

Metzger, who owns Cycles Unlimited and did not bid on the contract, said he has a problem with Lake Hill because the company is trying to run other motorcycle dealerships in the region out of business. He said the company bought in bulk more than the average dealership could afford, and then is willing to sell at or below cost, and lose money to gain the business.

Although the company might take a loss on the sale, Metzger said, smaller dealerships can't compete and Lake Hill would later be able to monopolize motorcycle, four-wheeler and other motor business within a 150-mile radius. He said it has already made it difficult for him to sell four-wheelers.

"They figure they might lose $2 million, but the others would be out of business in two years and afterwards they would make $6 million a year," Metzger said.

Metzger said a Chattanooga dealer is in a price war with Lake Hill as the two compete for the region's business.

Metzger questioned why the city solicited a Mississippi company while soliciting only three Alabama dealerships.

"There are a lot more Alabama dealerships that we didn't solicit," Metzger said.

City purchasing agent Jeff Fussell said Lake Hill
approached the city about
wanting to submit a bid for the scooter contract.

After the meeting, Councilman Gary Hammon said he disagrees with Metzger and will vote to award the contract to Lake Hill.

"The lowest local bid is over 3 percent higher," Hammon said. "If it had been 3 percent or less, then I'd say back and do it over."

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