Council discusses bidding process

The bidding process came under discussion at the regular monthly meeting of the City of California Board of Aldermen Monday, Nov. 4, at the City Hall.

The discussion revolved around understanding of previous directions given by the council, and became heated at times. Although the council decided to adhere to the ordinance first passed in 1981 requiring bids and prior council approval of any purchase which would be more than $1,000, the suggestion was made that maybe the $1,000 limit is too low considering how much prices have increased in the last 32 years.

The 1981 ordinance made exceptions for emergency purchases. Several department supervisors had understood the council to have given permission to make purchases which were "sole source" items, as long as verification documentation was included with the information provided to the council, and it was already in the department's budget.

After Alderwoman Carol Rackers questioned several past purchases which, while not actual emergency needs, were "sole source" items, available from only one vendor. They were also already in the department's budget.

The question of rental equipment was also added into the discussion, since the cost is often more than $1,000 for needed equipment.

During the discussion, Alderwoman Debbie Ferguson commented that it needs to be determined how city departments should best procure items purchased regularly. Examples given included oil and rock for street work purchased several times a year, sometimes up to twice a day, and bulk fuel purchased for the city police vehicles.

Following this discussion, a department supervisor brought up several pending purchases which exceeded the $1,000 limit, but were available from only one source and already in the budget.

The purchases were approved later during the meeting, after the purchase information and amounts were provided to the council.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance for annexation of property recently purchased by Mid-Mo Ambulance District for construction of a new ambulance base. A public hearing has been set for Nov. 20, at 5 p.m., at the California City Hall.

The council approved an Eagle Scout Project at Proctor Park by Justin Robert Mitchell. The project is to place a handicapped accessible picnic pad and table near the Scout House.

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