IN BRIEF: Commissioners took up questions of fairness in county contract procedures and giving local businesses slight preference in the bid process during Tuesday's work session. Purchasing Officer Tina Malone explained that for contracts of $15,000 to $100,000 the county can send an invitation for bids or a request for proposals. A new proposed policy would give a local business that holds a valid license from the city or county a bonus of five points, out of a maximum 500 points, in a request for proposals. In an invitation for bids, if the a local company is not the lowest bid but within 5 percent, they would be given the chance to match the lowest bid.
Chairman Richard Oden said "It helps us get our small local vendors get closer to the competative process and the millions of dollars in county contracts." Any other actions to even the playing field would require a disparity study, said Oden.
The BOC will vote on the policy change at the March 26 meeting.
Commissioner Oz Nesbitt also brought up the idea of directing all county contracts through a single office to oversee the process. Currently, many departments handle their own contracts.
"What I'm recommending will enhance that process by sending everything through the purchasing process," said Nesbitt. "I'm not interested in expediting the contract... It's more important that we're dotting the I's, crossing the T's."
Van Ness said there had not been complaints about the Parks and Recreation Department's handling of contracts, which is the topic that started Nesbitt's proposal. She said she would not be in support of the idea.