The Young County Commissioners Court voted Monday morning to accept a 2.20 percent finance rate for its transportation and equipment budget from American National Leasing, a company that previously financed the county’s vehicles and equipment at over 3 percent.

The vote came after a drawn-out bidding process between American National Leasing and First National Bank out of Wichita Falls that lasted over a month. After the meeting, County Commissioner Stacey Rogers said that it should not have taken as long as it did for the court to decide on a finance rate.

“I’m pleased that we’re saving money now, but the delay has cost the county $500,” Rogers said, explaining that while the item was tabled, the county continued making payments on its vehicles and equipment at the old rates.

The bidding war also caused some frustration at the commissioners court’s last meeting on March 10. At that meeting, First National representative and former American National Leasing employee Stewart Cobb withdrew his company’s bid rate of 2.25 percent and exited the court room.

This came after Commissioners Matt Pruitt and Jimmy Wiley voted to accept First National’s 2.25 percent rate, Commissioner Stacey Rogers voted against it, and Commissioner Mike Sipes and County Judge John Bullock abstained from voting.

Both Sipes and Bullock said that a need to better understand the contract differentiations between American National Leasing and First National Bank warranted their abstentions.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.