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Covington mayor votes to shop local

In a $40 decision of whether or not to shop at a local car dealership versus an out-of-town dealership, Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston made the deciding vote Wednesday night to support a local business.

The decision revolved around the purchase of a SUV crossover vehicle for the Covington Planning & Zoning Department.

Bids received by the city for the vehicle are as follows:

- Ginn Motor Company: 2017 Chevrolet Equinox LS at $21,164

- Ginn Chrysler Jeep: 2017 Dodge Journey SE at $19,008

- Covington Ford: 2017 Ford Escape S at $19,789

- Southern Nissan: 2017 Nissan Rogue at 18,968

While Southern Nissan provided the lowest bid price for the vehicle, after a split vote by the council, Johnston decided to go with the local option of Ginn Chrysler Jeep.

Councilman Chris Smith and Johnston agreed to personally pay the $40 out of pocket to guarantee the money would be spent locally.

Smith encouraged the council to consider supporting a local business, in this case Ginn Chrysler Jeep, which employs local residents and pays local taxes.

The council plans to discuss its purchasing policy during its Jan. 30 retreat, Johnston said during the work session preceding the meeting. The policy update could include a local vendor preference or other amendments.

Currently the council’s purchasing policy allows it to select the “best bid” out of the proposed bids.

Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said the council needs to create a purchasing policy it can stick to instead of being “wishy washy.” She, along with Councilwoman Ocie Franklin and Councilman Kenneth Morgan, was one of the votes against the local purchase option.