New law gives Tupper more choices in contracting bids
TUPPER LAKE — A new law passed by this village’s board allows the selection of any contracting bid on village projects.
The “Best Value Procurement Procedure” authorizes the board to choose a more expensive contracting bid if board members think the value to the taxpayers is worth the extra cost. This law, passed in a unanimous vote at the Aug. 16 village board meeting, has already been used by Franklin County for four years and has become a common practice for New York counties.
The procedure weighs factors like quality, qualifications, performance and reliability to decide which bid to choose instead of just factoring the cost.
Mayor Paul Maroun said this allows the village to work with the most reliable contractors possible and to save money on delivery times. Previously, when a contractor hired at the cheapest price did a poor job, the village was forced to work through them or needed to go through a lengthy and sometimes costly re-bidding process.
The ability to choose from several bids and reject cheap ones that have significantly low quality keeps contractors accountable for their prices as well as their quality of work according to Maroun.
“Taxpayers are not well served when public procurement results in low unit costs at the outset but ultimately produce cost escalations due to factors such as inferior quality, poor reliability and difficulty of maintenance,” reads the village notice of the new law.
The village can also choose bids based on previous experience with a certain contractor or any other external knowledge.
Maroun said he would like to use the law to choose bids from local contractors when possible. The lower cost of delivery drive times will result in savings not initially included in the price of a bid, according to the mayor.
There are no restrictions on how much higher than the lowest bid a bid can be or how often the village can use the procedure. The board will need three votes from trustees during a public board meeting, and the reason for the decision must be documented.
“It’s not something that’s used that much, but it’s just a tool we have,” Maroun said. “I wouldn’t suggest you use it all the time.”
As Franklin County legislator, Maroun says that larger government body uses the procedure less than 10 percent of the time. He says he will talk with other municipalities and department heads when weighing out several project bids, using their experience and knowledge to make an informed decision.
“It’s a great tool for local government to get the best bang for the taxpayer’s buck,” Maroun said.