by Kristin Casale
Munroe Falls -- Starting July 18, the city must seek competitive bids for projects costing more than $10,000. The previous required amount was more than $20,000.
During its June 19 meeting, Council voted 5-2 to override Mayor Frank Larson's veto of the legislation Council originally passed June 5. Councilmembers Gary Toth and Bob Beesley voted against the veto.
According to Deputy Clerk of Council Amy Locy, the legislation will take effect July 18 -- 30 days after its passage -- because state law does not permit an ordinance that had been vetoed to take effect immediately.
Larson provided a written notice of his veto to Finance Director Dave Bailey, who also serves as the clerk of Council, June 14.
Larson wrote, "The [bidding policy] ordinance has never been discussed in a public meeting ... The minutes do not show that it has ever been discussed at any Council or Council committee meetings."
But Councilmember Bob Pitz, Council President Mike O'Donnell and Council Vice President Laurie Madden agreed Council discussed the legislation during its May General Government Services Committee meeting, which Larson did not attend.
Pitz, who serves as chairperson of the committee, said he forgot to put the discussion of the ordinance in his meeting minutes.
Larson, who is responsible for entering into all city service contracts, said June 19 the ordinance "would only harm the city by adding unnecessary expenses."
After considering the cost to seek bids, Toth said he believes Council's legislation is unnecessary.
"I [initially] saw this as having a way to save the city money, but it looks like this is going to cost the city more," he said.
Bailey said 5 percent to 10 percent of a project's total cost typically comprises the bidding work.
The city must consult with engineers, obtain project specifications, seek bids and advertise, said Bailey, stating advertising normally costs $100 to $200.
Beesley said he also believes the ordinance is unnecessary, stating, "I think the legislation, as it is, will cause more bureaucracy."
Larson said the city always obtains multiple quotes for all service projects, and he thinks some Councilmembers have other reasons for passing the ordinance.
"I really believe this is a move by some Council people to cross that barrier between the administration and City Council," he said, explaining he thinks some Councilmembers want to manage certain aspects of city business that do not fall within their powers and duties.
But Pitz, who sponsored the legislation, disagreed.
"We would save money," he said. "I don't care what the bills are on specifications."
Pitz said he believes the community would save money even if the city incurs more costs to develop project specifications, because city officials would be required to contract projects for the lowest price.
O'Donnell said the ordinance is designed to bring Council further into the bidding process.
"It's simply [for] communication," he said.