The Camden City Council decided to reopen bids for towing city-owned vehicles during their regular meeting on Tuesday after some Council members questioned the fairness of the bidding process.
Resolutions No. 05-23 and No. 06-23, which would have awarded bids for towing regular-sized and large city vehicles were both voted down by Mayor Charlotte Young's deciding vote after the decision was split for both resolutions, 4-4, by the City Council.
Council member Marvin Moore suggested a committee be formed to study the bid process.
"I would like you to appoint maybe two aldermen, three aldermen to that committee. And when they get ready to this, just a little more clarity to it, and being transparent," he said.
City Attorney Michael Frey explained the bidding process to the Council.
"If we're doing competitive bidding, state law requires that we run an advertisement in the newspaper one time. That's the bare minimum," he said, adding that he didn't believe the newspaper was the best medium for public notice.
"There was a bill proposed at the last legislative session that would allow publications to be submitted in other forms of media besides newspapers; the lobby got that cut out almost immediately," he said.
City Clerk Donna Stewart noted that the bids up for vote were part of public record and available as part of the City Council packets which are distributed online.
She stated, "All of these bids have been made public, so if you bid them out again, everyone would be able to know what the lowest bid was, which is kind of unfair to the people that paid attention and did what they were supposed to do."
Moore and other council members argued that the city should do more to promote the bids, besides the minimum of running them in the newspaper.
"I'm just saying, should we go a step beyond? Because those people in the city running businesses, they ought to be a part of it too," Moore said.
Newly elected Council member Gerald Castleberry said that he was against putting more burden on the city, because it would take manhours and time away from city employees.
Public notices can be viewed online for free at arkansaspublicnotices.com
In other business, the board unanimously approved the following resolutions:
• Resolution No. 07-23, a resolution confirming the appointment of Richard Mosley to the Camden Housing Authority.
• Resolution No. 08-23, a resolution appointing Ebony Gulley and Ed Winters to the Advertising and Promotion Commission.
• Resolution No. 09-23, a resolution confirming the appointment of Mark Smith to the Board of the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development.
• Resolution No. 10-23, a resolution confirming the appointment of Gerald Castleberry to the Board of the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development