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Board approves purchasing limit increase

Board approves purchasing limit increase

In an effort to improve “efficiency” within city departments, Germantown officials have passed an amendment to raise the limit for purchases before sealed bids are required.

After a lengthy discussion Monday night, the city’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen agreed 3-2 to change the ordinance on second reading, with Aldermen Dean Massey and Scott Sanders voting “no.”

Both aldermen said they were concerned over the new $25,000 limit.

The current expenditure threshold is $10,000, meaning public advertisement and sealed bids are required for purchases over that amount.

However, four years ago the General Assembly updated the Municipal Purchasing Law by authorizing any city with “centralized purchasing authority with a full-time purchasing agent” to increase its purchasing threshold to $25,000 for “non-emergency, non-proprietary purchases.”

“When the state law changed,” said City Administrator Patrick Lawton, “city staff has been monitoring the purchase thresholds to determine if the city would need to implement the new thresholds.”

The city’s Procurement Department participated in a survey that indicated other municipalities “are within the norm as to bid thresholds and have moved to the highest level permitted by state law.”

For the past five years, an average of 24 percent of purchases fell between the $10,000 to $25,000 range.

“The majority of these purchases were infrastructure replacement projects, which are approved in the budget process,” said Lawton.

“Where we’re at $10,000 and our peers are here at $25,000,” added Procurement Director Lisa Piefer. “It limits our ability to go out and get quotes.”

“I just don’t see how there is any real meaningful enforcement to this,” Massey said.

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