Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2003

City wants to see more local businesses in bid process

August 14, 2003

Local leaders want the city to do more shopping at home. The Eudora City Council discussed its purchasing policies Monday night and agreed local businesses needed more consideration in the process.
"I see the same names (on city bills) every month," said Council member Tom Pyle. "I think we've got people here in town who want to do business with the city of Eudora. We used to hire these people. I haven't figured out why (we haven't), but it's not right."
City Administrator Mike Yanez said one way to get more local business would be to encourage them to provide the city with information regarding what types of equipment, services or other commodities they had to offer. The city shop can be reached at 542-3100.
On the city's end, he said staff could be more aware of what projects were coming up so that last-minute phone bids weren't the only options.
"In the past I think we've all taken shortcuts," Yanez said.
Moreover, staff could be trained to write legal notices for the newspaper advertising what bids were coming up as well as create a database of local businesses and have a structured bid process.
But Pyle said he worried a structured process would put small businesses, which don't have the same staff support and expertise, at a disadvantage.
"Let's not complicate it," he said. "It should be simple."
But Yanez said detailing the process on the city's end would in urn make it more fair for the businesses.
"A pure competitive bid process creates a level playing field," he said.
Council member Scott Hopson raised the purchasing issue after he'd been asked how the city's purchasing process worked.
City Clerk Donna Oleson said the policy was adopted in 1999, before the city had an administrator. Departments have discretion over anything less than $2,000 for the total project purchase. To break a project down to make portions less than $2,000 was illegal, she said.
A few cases governed when the city might forego the bid process, such as if equipment in state surplus was available or if a supplier had a set price.
Earlier in the meeting, the Council rescinded a bid for chipping and sealing materials that it had approved at the previous meeting. Originally the bid had been awarded to Hamm Quarry, but this round of bidding included local supplier Mike Rockhold Grading and area company Jim Cannon Trucking Inc., of De Soto.
The Council chose the low bid -- from the nearby De Soto company -- and saved itself about $1,000 in the process.
"I'd like to see Mike Rockhold -- he's local -- but so is Jim Cannon. He's from this area," Pyle said.
Likewise, Hopson said he'd like to see the city promoting more local businesses.
"I think this makes good sense," he said. "The sealed bid is a good idea as far as I'm concerned."

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