Victoria Commissioner skeptical about spending

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

July 2, 2012 at 2:02 a.m.
Updated July 3, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.

Victoria County Commissioners approved nearly $130,000 in budget amendments Monday after less than three minutes of discussion.

The amendments granted $51,411 to the fire marshal vehicle fund, $71,000 to the sheriff's office commissary fund and $7,000 to the Precinct 4 road and bridge fund.

After the meeting, Commissioner Gary Burns said the amendments "should have been handled differently" - specifically the purchase of a 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe for Fire Marshal Ron Pray.

"I just want to use a little caution," Burns said.

A previous fire marshal had a "jacked up bid," but after shopping around, saved money buying a vehicle local, Burns said.

"Trade local and keep the money in Victoria," he said. Local businesses "should have been given a chance to bid."

Pray said he followed procedure outlined by County Judge Don Pozzi.

"A couple weeks ago, I got bids and submitted them to the judge," Pray said. "They gave approval and said, 'You're going to get this and that's what we'll do.'"

The vehicle was purchased off Buy Board, the Local Government Purchasing Cooperative where Victoria County holds membership, Pray said.

Pray's 2006 truck will be passed to David W. Phillips, fire investigator and assistant fire chief. He said his new truck is "plain Jane," with cloth seats and stock radio, but with heavy duty suspension and law enforcement specifications.

Monday was the first time the vehicle was formally brought to the attention of commissioners.

During the meeting, Pozzi said the purchase "was reviewed and discussed," but did not say who was involved.

He said the county looked at prices from at least three sources.

"This is not something we took lightly," Pozzi said. "We checked with all appropriate sources that we felt included used versus new, including dealerships and what was available at the sheriff's office."

Pozzi told Burns, "If you want to pull it, we'll pull it."

However, when Burns said he would rather discuss the issue next week, Pozzi said Pray had already taken possession of the vehicle.

Burns made a motion to approve the budget amendment and Commissioner Kevin Janak seconded it. The amendment passed unanimously.



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