Hot Springs will forgo soliciting bids for automobiles

HOT SPRINGS — The city won’t solicit bids for vehicles it buys until late next year, citing an exemption in state code that allows cities to waive a call for tenders. offers in exceptional circumstances.

The enabling ordinance the Hot Springs board of directors passed last week said ‘unprecedented challenges’ brought about by supply chain disruptions have made it impossible to purchase vehicles through the process tender.

The city typically buys vehicles under a contract that the state negotiates with car dealerships. According to the board’s request for action, supply chain and vehicle demand issues led to the cancellation of the contract.

“Due to ongoing supply chain issues, computer chip shortages and limited availability of manufacturer vehicles, all vehicles available on dealer lots typically sell out within days,” the city said.

The ordinance authorized the city to spend up to the budgeted amounts. The city said current prices exceeded what was budgeted in some cases, forcing some departments to reduce the number of vehicles in their budgets.

The council also withdrew the tender for the emergency generator for the water treatment plant the town is building near Amity Road.

The order the council passed last week invoked the exemption for goods and services available only through a sole source, one of more than 20 exemptions the Legislative Assembly added the last year. The city uses Kohler generators in its water and wastewater plants. RP Power in North Little Rock is the only authorized Kohler sales and service provider in the state.

RP Power ordered the 1,750 kW standby generator in November and is ready to sell it for last year’s price of $598,400. The city would have paid the current price, $722,610, plus the contractor’s mark-up if the generator was part of the bid for the new water plant. The generator has been removed from the bid solicitation, but bids will still include the installation cost.

The city will open bids for the new 15 million gallon per day processing plant on Tuesday. It’s part of the $106 million Lake Ouachita Water Supply Project that will increase the city’s treatment capacity by two-thirds and nearly double its raw water supply.

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