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ANDERSON — Madison County officials are under the gun to decide whether or not to pay for three new trucks obtained by the highway department.

The issue of nonpayment for three trucks purchased from Stoops Freightliner and lawn equipment from Bendle’s Lawn Equipment came to light last week during a meeting of the Madison County Council.

Stan Eisenhooth, general manager of Stoops Freightliner, said Monday after a meeting of the Madison County Board of Commissioners, if the funding issue is not resolved on Wednesday, the trucks will be repossessed on the following day.

Members of the County Council have been working to resolve the issue to get Star Bank to release an approximate $585,000 payment to the two companies.

On Monday, Kelly Gaskill, president of the Board of Commissioners, said there were things taking place that she wasn’t aware of until last week.

“I want an investigation into the matter,” Gaskill said in a motion that was seconded by Commissioner Mike Phipps and approved.

Gaskill said by Wednesday she wants the bid specifications, the date of purchase, who authorized the purchase and when the trucks were delivered.

“There are local vendors I know,” she said. “I want them to be paid.”

Gaskill said there are rules and laws to be followed.

The commissioners continued their meeting until 7 p.m. Wednesday to get answers involving the truck purchase.

County attorney Jonathan Hughes said he hopes the documents are available on the equipment purchases.

The county received bids on the trucks last year, according to Auditor Rick Gardner.

Pete Heuer, president of the Madison County Council, said the council’s attorney, Ted Nolting, reviewed all the documents pertaining to the purchase of the equipment.

“He reviewed all the documents and was willing to sign the opinion of counsel letter for the bank,” he said. “I believe everything was done properly.”

The commissioners have said that the county didn’t receive bids for the trucks but only price quotes.

Indiana State Law requires bids for purchases over a certain amount.

Phipps made a motion that was approved stating that following action last December any contract not approved by the commissioners is void.

“That includes the purchase of any equipment that was not brought to our attention,” he said.

Last week, Stoops notified Gardner that if payment was not received the trucks would be repossessed.

It was anticipated that Gaskill would sign two forms to approve the financing and that the Madison County Council’s attorney would then sign a third document to secure the funding.

Gaskill said she signed the letters last week until she learned about the alleged problems with the bid process and financing arrangement.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter

@KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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