A story in The Herald-Whig’s Sept. 24 edition said the city approved of a purchase of a Drug Task Force car for $6,000 from a Hillsboro dealership and another vehicle from a Greenfield dealership for $26,000. Why doesn’t the city buy local cars? What are the Police Department’s rules and what is the process when it comes to buying equipment, cars, etc.?
Any decisions made about purchases of city equipment are made by the City Council.
Police Chief Rob Copley said his department usually tries to buy vehicles off a bid list from the state.
“We have tried to solicit bids from local car dealers in the past, but they are unable to beat the state bid price because that bid is based on a large volume,” Copley said. “It has been the City Council’s wish to save money wherever possible, and they decided to buy off the state bid instead of locally. We try to buy things locally when we can.”
Copley said the city’s purchasing policy calls for the Police Department to get three quotes on any purchase over $1,000 and go out on bid for anything over $10,000, unless state bid pricing is used. All purchases over $3,000 must be approved by the City Council.
Jim Murphy, interim director of purchasing, said while it is difficult for local businesses to compete with state or federal bids, the city will use local companies to handle any warranty work.
“I agree that the city should try to purchase as many goods and services from local merchants as possible … but in reality, it is not always possible due to the availability of some goods and services,” Murphy said. “Also, purchasing goods or services at the lowest price point allows the city to be financially responsible with taxpayer’s money.”
Murphy said the City Council has the authority to select a vendor that does not submit the lowest cost. When the City Council accepts a higher bid from local merchants, the monetary differences in these situations are “usually very trivial,” he said.