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Depot potty stink settled

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A controversy over the rental of portable toilets for Saturday's Depot Days Festival has apparently been resolved by the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce.
At a called meeting early Monday, the chamber board decided to start over by rejecting two earlier bids and requesting in writing second bids from both parties, according to Doug Moss, chairman.
"In this particular case, the low bid will be accepted," Moss stated. "Later, we will review the rules and policies of the chamber as far as it doing business with its members is concerned. We will make any adjustments needed in order for us to better serve the business community."
As a result of the rebids, which were opened at noon on Tuesday, Bates Septic Services was awarded the contract.
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Chamber president Susan Hines said rebid requests were sent out immediately following the meeting and were due to be returned not later than noon Wednesday after presstime.
She said bid quotes received earlier from Bates Septic Services of Hartselle and PBS of Florence were the same and that PBS's bid was accepted because Bates furnished portable toilets for the festival in 2004.
But John Bates, president and manager of Bates Septic Services and his father, Larry Bates, vice president, say that's not what they were told when they asked Hines last week who was going to be awarded the portable toilet contract.
"She (Hines) told us our bid ($70 each for 16 regular portable toilets and $150 for one handicap accessible toilet) was low but PBS's bid was accepted because it was not 10 percent higher than ours and therefore qualified under the chamber's rotation policy."
Hines said anytime the chamber has something to put out for bids, it seeks quotes from its members who are in good standing regardless of where their business is located. However, she acknowledged that the request for quotes on the portable toilets did not include information about the organization's rotation policy. Bates was awarded the toilet contract for the first time last year.
"I'm pleased with the action of the board" John Bates said. "I couldn't ask for anything better considering the time frame within which they had to work. Even If I don't get the business I'm confident that changes will be made to prevent this from happening again."
"The purpose of the chamber taking bids is to give our members the first shot at getting the business," Moss stated. "The question of fairness has been raised about the 10 percent rotation policy. This is something we will looking at carefully in the future. We want to be fair to all of our members."

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