Lemoore City Council to review local bidding plan that could cost taxpapers more

Lemoore, Lemoore Council Members at their July 2 meeting instructed city staff to determine if a 5 percent of 3 percent preference would have helped local bidders gain an advantage in local projects where state or local funding is not used. Some council members might not like what is reported to them at their next meeting on Tuesday, July 16 (staff report).

Council members are attempting to determine if it is attractive or even possible to give local contractors and bidders a preference, whether it be a 5 percent city wide preference or a zip code related 3 percent preference.

“If it’s in the city limits, that to me deserves the greatest concession on their bid because we’re going to benefit,” said Mayor Billy Siegel, a prime mover of the local bidding proposal.

2012-13 local bidders

Following significant discussion, council members came to a consensus that a 5 percent preference for local bidders within the city limits and a 3 percent preference for those in the local zip code area was the right approach. What this means is that if a local contractor is within 5 percent of the lowest bid, he or she may earn the contract, instead of the low bidder, who isn’t local.

“I think this is probably the best way to do this,” said Siegel. “If it’s wrong we can do something else.”

On that consensus Siegel asked city staff, in particular Administrative Analyst Laura Apone, to bring the issue back to council members for the July 16 meeting including a determination of what effect a 5 percent of 3 percent preference would have had on recent bidding history.

Apone, in her staff report, tabulated all the bids awarded in the past 12 months, which totaled $6,530,000. The report went on to state if every single bid award had a local bidder that was 5 percent higher than the lowest bidder, and the city paid 5 percent higher than the lowest bid to award to that local contractor, this would have cost the city an additional $326,500. If the city had used the 3 percent figure, the cost to the city and taxpayers would have been $195,900. A 1 percent preference would have cost the city $65,300.

In reality, stated Apone’s report, if the City of Lemoore would have had an ordinance in place in the last 12 months, none of the bids would have been affected and the city wouldn’t have paid any additional money. It turns out at least one local bidder, Cen Cal Paving, won a majority of the city’s paving projects in the last 12 months.

Additionally the local bidders that bid on the other projects were more than 5 percent higher on their bids and would not have been eligible for the preference. The one local bid that was only 4 percent higher than the low bid on a project that was ineligible for the local bidding preference due to state or federal funding.

The report left council members with two options: okay a flat preference meaning that if they are within a percentage of a local bid, the local contractor could get the job. This could mean, based on last year’s bidding figures, it could cost the city upwards of $326,000 annually. The other option is a matching preference, meaning if a contractor is within a percentage, they get the chance to match the non-local bid, meaning the burden would be placed on the local contractor to adhere to the low bid.

Comments powered by Disqus