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County breaks with collaborative to save on pest control services
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When the Leadership Collaborative first decided to contract out services together, they were hoping that buying in bulk would result in savings for everyone involved. Their trial run with pest control services didn't work out as planned, but still led to savings for most entities, including $8,000 in savings for Newton County.

In November, the Newton County Board of Commissioners, the Newton County School System, the Newton County Water and Sewage Authority, the city of Covington and Social Circle City Schools joined together to search for a single pest control provider to service all five entities. Nine pest control providers bid on the combined contract with prices ranging from $32,292 to $74,558.88.

Cox's Mid-Georgia Pest Control of Grayson. had the lowest combined bid and would have led to a 33 percent savings for the five entities combined. However, each pest control provider gave bids for each separate building, so the entities were able to see which provider was cheapest for them individually. When the entities found out there was no negative impact from breaking with the collaborative, they chose whichever provider was either the least expensive overall, or the most cost effective local provider. For example, Covington stayed with Cleary Exterminating Company, Inc. at the same annual price of $2,748. Cox's bid was lower by a few hundred dollars, but the city chose the local provider to keep the money in the community, Facilities Maintenance Manager Luther Bouchillon said. In theory, the entities would hope to sign a single provider, but this time most entities saved money anyway.

The BOC chose to sign Covington-based Beyond Exterminating to a one-year $5,602.78 renewable contract, saving the county $8,197.22 in pest control costs from last year. In the county's case, they essentially received bulk prices for individual services. Beyond Exterminating Owner Jeremy Shearer underbid on some of county's properties because they only represented 25 percent of the total contract. When the county asked him if he would keep the low price for just their buildings he agreed. Because his business is smaller and has less overhead he can remain cost effective on small jobs.

The contract will account for about 5 percent of Beyond Exterminating's pest control income, but Shearer said the added exposure is more important.

The collaborative is looking into using a combined bidding process for larger and more complicated services like insurance and goods like fuel for vehicles, said Kay Lee from The Center for Facilitating Community Preservation and Planning.