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City of Brundidge

purchases questioned

By AMANDA R. BRADLEY

Staff Writer

Published Aug. 5, 1999

Brundidge City Hall is in its final phase of the remodeling process that was started in 1995 with the addition of 22 wall hangings for the total amount of $5,057, or $229.86 each.

Instead of shopping Brundidge merchants to see if they could help with wall decorations, the money was spent in the neighboring city of Troy.

The fact that the new wall hangings came from out of town was brought to the attention of Brundidge City Council members at the meeting Tuesday night. Jaine Treadwell, representative for District 3, gave a written concern to every council member and officials.

The written concern was as follows:

"Mayor Jimmy Ramage and fellow council members,

Of great concern to me is that the City of Brundidge is spending large amounts of money decorating the Bass House/City Hall and this money is not being spent locally. We have merchants who come to work each day and unlock their stores with the belief that they can generate enough business to make a living here in our town. When we take tax dollars from our town and spend them elsewhere, we are not being good stewards of our taxpayers money nor are we being supportive of our merchants. If we continue this trend, we should not be surprised when merchants lock their doors for good and if prospective business owners decide to locate elsewhere. We encourage our citizens to shop at home, therefore, we, as those entrusted with the business of Brundidge, should set that example. If our citizens follow in the footsteps we are making at the present time, they, too, will be shopping out of town. Where will that leave us?"

After this was read by council members, attention turned to Britt Thomas, city manager.

Thomas said Jane Whaley of Troy has been a part of the renovating process since the beginning. The paintings were ordered through Empty Nest, wholesale.

"I am just trying to make this house to what the council originally wanted it to be in 1995," said Thomas.

Besides that, Thomas said he had "no comment" except to say the money came out of the general funds which is where all the renovation money has to come from.

Sheroll Tatom, representative from District 1, did not know local merchants had not been approached about decorating the city hall.

"I found out later that no one local had been approached," said Tatom. "I would rather have local merchants have a shot at it."

Tatom had no complaints about the renovations until this point.

"With the way things have been handled I have had no reason to complain," said Tatom. "But certainly the city should try to furnish whatever they can in Brundidge. From now on we need to see what is available locally and then if we can’t get it here, go somewhere else."

Jaine Treadwell said there is enough talent locally without having to go out of town for decorative items for city hall.

"There are nine businesses here in Brundidge that have the resources to have supplied the accessories we have purchased outside of Brundidge," said Treadwell. "We should give our businesses opportunities before going outside the area."

Jimmy Hollis, president of the Brundidge Business Association, believes in supporting your community.

"I think every person in a communty should shop within that community," said Hollis. "I especially think the city should shop at home since it supports the city revenues."

Hollis, however, doesn’t want to take sides in the situation.

"I think it would be a courtesy gesture on the city’s part to ask if we would like to bid on the renovations or accessories," said Hollis. "But I won’t condemn the city officials until I hear their side."

So their side could be heard, the other four council members were asked for their opinion on the matter.

Cynthia Pearson, District 4, is in support of local merchants.

"I personally agree that local merchants should have the right to bid on any city purchases," said Pearson. "I think we should spend our money in town. I don’t think it was intentional to hurt anyone and I’m really sorry if it hurt anyone’s feelings."

Isabel Boyd, District 5, wasn’t aware local merchants were not being approached.

"I apologize to the merchants of Brundidge," said Boyd. "I wasn’t aware they carried items we were purchasing. I didn’t even know the pictures were being purchased. I would love for people to spend their money in Brundidge if the things they need are available here."

Arthur Griffin , District 2, was not available for comment.

Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage also did not know about the purchase until after the meeting.

"I feel this is just a misunderstanding," said Ramage. "We do buy locally whenever we can, and it was not our intention to hurt anybody. I did not know we had bought them because we try to ‘micromanage’ and let our department heads do the job they are hired to do."

"You always want to feel involved," said Sandra Hughes, owner of Gingerbread Hall Antiques in Brundidge. "It would have been nice to have been asked to provide for the city."

Hughes said no one from city hall approached her to see if they could provide any of the antique items the city was looking for to decorate the old Bass home.

"If the city can’t support us, how do we expect anyone else to," asked Hughes. "I love Brundidge and I support the city every way I can. I expect the city to do the same."