Trailer purchase approved

Published 6:33 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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JACKSON – With plenty of praise for the idea, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners easily approved a proposal for the county’s health department to purchase a mobile trailer. Andy Smith, Northampton’s Health Department Director, submitted the request at the commissioner’s regular meeting here on Oct. 19.

“We’re asking to use some of our COVID funds to purchase a trailer,” he explained, referencing the money each county received this year to cover various costs associated with the pandemic.

According to Smith, the mobile trailer can be used for multiple purposes including COVID testing clinics and vaccine distributions whenever a vaccine for the virus is made available in the future. Outside of pandemic-related uses, Smith also noted that the trailer can be used for other health services in the community.

Additionally, since the trailer can be moved throughout the county, Smith noted it will also help address the transportation barrier to healthcare access that many Northampton County citizens face.

Smith brought three bids to the Board for consideration, and recommended they choose the 2020 Keystone Springdale camper from Camping World in Garner. The bid, listed at $25,804.52, was not the lowest bid Smith presented, but he explained the 2020 model would be the only one they could pull with the health department’s current vehicle. The other trailers would require an additional vehicle purchase to ensure the trailer could be mobilized.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner asked if the recommended trailer would have all the specifications they needed, such as refrigeration capabilities for vaccines. Smith replied in the affirmative.

“I’m thrilled about this,” said Commissioner Nicole Boone. “We know that we have a transportation barrier in our county.”

Boone also suggested the trailer could be used in collaborative events throughout the county, like holding a mobile health clinic during a mobile food distribution.

Board Chair Charles Tyner thanked Smith for thinking ahead and preparing for when a COVID vaccine is eventually available.

“This doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime,” he emphasized.

Typically, the commissioners choose the lowest bids available, but Tyner noted Smith’s recommendation for the higher bid would save the county from having to purchase another vehicle as well.

Boone made the motion to approve the recommended bid, and Commissioner Kelvin Edwards seconded it. The vote was unanimously in favor.