On city projects and purchases of $15,000 or more, rules are already on the local and state books that require seeking quotes or competitive bids.
For amounts of less than $15,000, the City of Denison has not had a policy on the books but soon may.
The Denison City Council is developing rules that would address purchases of $2,500 up to the $15,000 threshold.
The intent of the policy is for city departments to receive at last three documented price quotes for services and products of more than $2,500 but less than the amounts already covered by local, state and federal requirements.
The concept for the purchasing policy was introduced at a November meeting by councilman Corey Curnyn.
Curnyn said he has had contractors ask him how they could have a chance to work on city projects.
The policy would help assure that taxpayers are getting the most for their dollars and that contractors and vendors have an equal opportunity to provide quotes to do city work, he explained.
He added that the policy would also provide transparency and accountability to the city’s purchasing process
The idea for the purchasing policy came from the Boulders Conference Center Board, on which Curnyn serves as the city council’s liaison. He said the conference center board members are interested in establishing their own purchasing policy.
All contractors and vendors interested in having the opportunity to do city work or provide materials to the city are asked to contact city hall to have their name and contact information added to a list.
Contractors on the list must be licensed and must provide proof of insurance, Curnyn pointed out.
City Clerk Lisa Koch said that many contractors have already been contacted about the list.
The city council’s purchasing policy would not apply to the three city departments that have their own boards, barring an amendment to the city code. Boards for Boulders Conference Center, Norelius Community Library and Denison Aquatic Center would have to set their own purchasing policies.
The purchasing policy would formalize and request documentation for what the departments in many respects are already doing.
Department heads indicated that they already get multiple quotes on work. Library Director Monica Walley said at Tuesday’s council meeting that for all the improvements done over the past 18 months, the board has asked her to do fair market bidding and get competitive bids from a number of vendors.
Parks and Recreation Director Brian Kempfert said at the November 20 council meeting he does price comparing.
Doug Wiebers, public works director, said on November 20 that his department spreads out the repair work among local shops.
Curnyn said that the three separate boards wouldn’t have to use the same $2,500 dollar-amount figure that the city council is considering.
“A lot of it is for construction for the city to have competitive bids on anything city-related over $2,500 so that more contractors have the ability to bid projects
and save the taxpayers money,” he said. “It’s the same thing with purchasing items. That’s really what it’s about.”
The conference center, library and aquatic center boards would not need the city council to approve the policies they establish, but council members would like to see the policies those boards develop.
The council’s purchasing policy takes into account special situations, such as vehicle and equipment repairs, an issue that was brought up at the November 20 meeting.
Those instances fall under a section in the policy that says commodities, consumables and minor repairs may be purchased in any amount without prior city council approval as long as the item is part of the approved annual budget. Procurement requirements related to sealed bids and quotes must still be followed.
The policy also spells out preference to use suppliers and contractors, unless no vendor or only one vendor is located in Denison or the city has information that an out-of-town vendor may be price competitive.
The local preference policy does not pertain to construction, purchases involving state or federal funding and joint governmental purchases.
Purchases of under $2,500 will not require multiple quotes if the prices are considered to be reasonable. Informal quotes are encouraged.