Local governments may have cost-saving contract options

 

By Melissa Daniels, staff writer


GateHouse News Service Posted Jun 27, 2011 @ 10:09 AM


Canandaigua, N.Y. —


Taxpayer dollars may be saved from high contract costs thanks to new legislation that allows local governments to get the same prices on the same products.


The bill, which was recently passed in the state Senate and is pending in the Assembly, would allow governments to “piggy-back” off each other’s purchasing contracts — specifically at the state and federal levels.


Debbie Gierman, purchasing director for Ontario County, said the county will continue to send out bids for purchases, but the ability to use an existing contract does offer more options.


“It gives us the option that if we think the prices are higher and someone else has a bid somewhere else that we’re legally able to use, we would pursue that and be able to save taxpayer money,” Gierman said.


It will be particularly useful when it comes to buying homeland security technology and weapons that may be required by the county, Gierman said. Instead of tracking the products down on its own, the county can obtain them through the federal purchasing contract.


Exempt from the legislation are contracts that include prevailing rate clauses.


Bill sponsor Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said in a statement that 48 other states have authorized cooperative purchasing, or enacted other laws that permit public agencies to buy from contracts that were solicited by others, as cost-saving measures.


Sen. Pat Gallivan, R-Elma, said state government needs to do all it can to reduce the cost burdens facing local governments.


“Senator Little’s bill is very similar to the cooperative purchasing legislation I introduced and passed through the Senate earlier this session,” Gallivan said in an emailed statement. “It addresses many of the same priorities — expanding local governments’ opportunities to ‘piggy back’ onto purchasing contracts from other government agencies, and providing towns and villages with the flexibility needed to streamline their operations, reduce local costs and protect tax dollars.”


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Publication date: 
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 10:09