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Erin Saathoff

Did you know the City has a formal purchasing and procurement policy in place for the expenditure of city funds? This policy was put into place to ensure the all city departments are following the same purchasing procedures. I am going to explain when the City is allowed to simply obtain a quote, when public bids are required and the process of awarding contracts to contractors.

For the purchase of equipment, materials, parts or supplies and contracted construction projects, if the item is less than $2,500, the department head or superintendent is not required to obtain a quote.

For the purchase of any item less than $30,000 but greater than $2,500, the department head or superintendent is required to obtain a written quote from three separate vendor or contractors. The quotes may be obtained via mail, fax or e-mail. These quotes are required to be retained on file and the lowest quote received that meets the specifications provided by the department head or superintendent will be awarded. In effort to try to keep service local, a majority of the vendors and/or contractors contacted shall be local to the City of Beatrice or Gage County area when practical.

Any purchase of equipment, materials, parts or supplies and contracted capital construction projects greater $30,000 shall be purchased via public bid. Public bids require formal bidding documents and notice of the bid letting is published in the local newspaper. The bidding documents are also posted on the City’s website under the public bids section. The City partners with QuestCDN to host the online bidding documents.

All formal bids received must be sealed and received by the designated time stated in the advertisement. The opening of the sealed bids is open to the public. During the opening of the bids, a bid tabulation is recorded, indicating the contractor and bid price. After the bids are received, the department head or superintendent will review all bids to ensure they meet the specifications provided in the bidding documents. Typically, as long as the bid for the purchase of equipment or vehicles is lower than the amount budgeted for, the department head or superintendent simply proceeds with the purchase of the item. If the item comes in over budget, approval by the city council would be necessary, as it would be a budgetary change. If the bids received are in excess of the estimates or the budgeted amounts, the City may reject the bids and request the item or project be rebid.

For contracted capital construction projects, the City Engineer will review the bid schedule provided and make his recommendation to the City Council to award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder. Once the project has been awarded, any pay requests and change orders must be approved by the City. A change order is any change in the scope of work that is agreed to by the City, contractor and engineer.

Hopefully this provided a little information to you on how the City bids out projects and monitors the expenditure of funds on those projects. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact City Hall to find answers you may have.

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Erin Saathoff is the city clerk of Beatrice. 


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