With new law, county will be able to consider 'best value' instead of just 'lowest price' in bids
The lowest price isn't always the best deal, but awarding public works contracts to the lowest bidder has been the law for Genesee County for some time.
The Legislature is considering a change in local law that would allow the county to consider such things as differences in warranty, materials used and quality of workmanship.
"Sometimes the better value is not just the lowest cost," County Attorney Chuck Zambito said during a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. "But there is a process to go through to approve a bid. You can't just do it."
Among the requirements, the request for proposal must specify the criteria for awarding a bid, the contractor must specify value-added aspects of the bid and department heads and purchasing agents must review and make recommendations to the Legislature based on these specifications.
A public hearing on the proposed change to local law is set for 5:30 p.m., Sept. 10.
Two things that don't change under the proposed change -- giving preference to local vendors (barred by state law) and the county can still eliminate from considerations vendors that don't measure up to "responsible" (business reputation matters).
New York is one of the last states to change the law to allow local governments to change its own rules governing contracts and accept "best value" bids.
The specific criteria that could be considered for "best value" bids are:
- Lowest cost of maintenance for goods or services;
- Durability of goods or services;
- Higher quality of goods or services;
- Longer product life of goods or services.
"As long s you protect the interest of the taxpayer then you're going to be OK (awarding bids on these criteria)," Zambito said.
"As long as you protect the interest of the taxpayer then you're going to be ok"..............uh oh..........!