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Minto approves purchasing bylaw

by Patrick Raftis

MINTO - Town council  has approved a new purchasing bylaw that clarifies a number of procedures and responsibilities.

The bylaw was passed following a report by CAO Bill White on Aug. 1.

“While it has been several years in preparation, staff is comfortable the bylaw is an effective replacement for the original purchasing bylaw passed in 2004,” White states in the report.

One thing the bylaw does not do is prioritize the purchase of goods and services from local sources. 

Specific mention of local suppliers was removed from a draft bylaw at the advice of town solicitors “to avoid conflict” with Discriminatory Business Practices Act, the report states.

However, White notes in the report, the town’s “best value” for small purchases by credit card is local.

“There was local purchasing specifically mentioned and that was one thing that the lawyer cautioned against being very specific on,” White explained in response to a question from councillor Ron Elliott.

“But essentially for things that are sold by lots of people, for example office supplies, this bylaw will allow us just to select a local supplier.” 

“I know we try to go local when we can,” commented Mayor George Bridge.

The report states the new bylaw is “clearer” and includes one standard form that can be used for all purchasing. It contains the following clarifications: 

- the CAO may buy up to $5,000 of goods and services on a one-time, urgent basis;

- for purchases up to $10,000, the CAO and treasurer may approve a sole source purchase that meets special circumstances (otherwise council approval is needed);

- informal quotes are required for purchases up to $10,000 provided “best value” is achieved for the town;

- formal quotations are required of CAO or department heads for purchases between $10,000 and $50,000, which involves a minimum of three quotes and “best value” must be achieved with a report to council where there are equal bids, bids over budget, or where clarification is required;

- tendering for goods that can be “clearly identified and quantified” is required for purchases over $50,000;

- requests for proposals are required for goods that cannot be “clearly identified and quantified” for purchases over $50,000 - this involves same process as a tender  and “best value” must be achieved with a report to council prior to award; 

- to negotiate for sole -source purchases over $10,000 council approval is required and specific rules are to be met;

- the CAO position and department heads may purchase in an emergency where there is a threat to public property, services, health etc.;

- surplus assets are to be disposed of to ensure “best value” and in accordance with town policy, with council approval needed to add assets that might otherwise have been disposed;

- credit card purchases are limited to incidental goods and services, primarily maintenance related;

- new provisions are in place for the town’s bid review committee with a requirement that an award be unanimous or referred back to council; and

- the CAO and treasurer have authority for budgeted purchases during any official “Lame Duck” period of council.

“There’s a lot more control in here,” White said. 

“There’s references to environmental goals and persons with disabilities having access to the purchasing process.”

August 11, 2017


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