Archive for Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Commission kicks around vehicle purchase policy

Proposal concentrating on buying local to be considered

July 11, 2006


City commissioners tonight will have the chance to do more than just talk about the benefits of buying local.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners will consider changing their vehicle purchasing policy to make it easier for local auto dealers to bid on city vehicle purchases.

"I want to make sure that we get the best value for taxpayers, but we have to make sure that we give our local businesses a chance," said Mayor Mike Amyx, who has worked on creating the new policy. "They all pay a lot of taxes, and they all contribute a lot to this community."

But purchasing professionals are cautioning commissioners the new policy may be a bit of a lemon for taxpayers. The new policy would remove the city from a major purchasing cooperative that allows the city to combine its vehicle bids with about 20 other cities, counties and nonprofits in the Kansas City area.

"I definitely think it has saved us money," said Jackie Waggoner, who serves as the county's purchasing director and also is the president of the cooperative organization. "It gets us some nice volume discounts."

The system, though, often made it difficult for local dealers to sell to the city because if they wanted to make a bid to sell to the city, they had to offer a bid to the entire cooperative, which is dubbed the Mid America Council of Public Purchasing.

"We're just interested in trying to sell the cars to our local governments," said Gary Bennett, president and general manager of Lawrence's Laird Noller Automotive. "We don't want to have to make a bid for 100 cars just to sell eight."

Bennett - who with other dealers and representatives of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the change - said a large bid to the cooperative could be a problem for many Lawrence dealers because of the expense of delivering large numbers of cars to the Kansas City area.

The new policy wouldn't guarantee a Lawrence dealer would receive each new vehicle bid. The city would send out bid requests to dealers in Lawrence, Kansas City, Topeka and even Wichita, in some cases. But unlike the current system, dealers would be bidding just on Lawrence's order, not the entire group's.

Bennett said he didn't think the new policy would increase costs to the city. Amyx said he wasn't sure, but he wanted to give the new system a chance.

"We will monitor it," Amyx said. "But if a local dealer is fortunate enough to get the bid, I know a good part of that money that is made here will be spent here. That is an important part of this equation to me."

The number of vehicles the city purchases through the cooperative varies year to year but can easily be more than a dozen, said Alan Landis, the city's purchasing specialist.

He said it was difficult to predict how much more the new system would cost the city. He provided a memo to city commissioners that showed a contract to purchase 11 police cars this year would have been $4,600 higher - in total, not per car - if the city had gone with the one local dealer who submitted bids to the cooperative. He also noted a sport utility vehicle purchase for the Fire & Medical department would have been about $3,400 more if the city had gone with the local vendor.

City commissioners meet at 5 p.m. tonight at City Hall and are scheduled to deal with the policy change as a part of their consent agenda - which is reserved for approving routine items.


lunacydetector 11 years, 4 months ago

why not buy using dada dollars or whatever booger called those things, ha, ha. after all the years our local progressives have been in power, only NOW do they kick around a new policy regarding buying local? the same people who always talk big about buying local haven't been buying local at all? my momma always said actions speak louder than words. i figured this would've been something first on their agenda like 5 (FIVE) years ago.

new dodge charger police cars with the hemi V8 would send a little fear factor into the population. i wonder what a 'i hate the police' oversight committee would think? probably would recommend one of them 'lectric cars that goes 0-60 in 20 seconds and costs twice the amount of a normal gasoline engined car, so the law breakers could have a fighting chance.

let's spend $90,000 for some flowers downtown (did they buy them local?) or better yet, let's spend $900,000 on a roundabout in the middle of an old street and buy new sidewalks (that'll have to be replaced in a couple of years because of shoddy concrete mix) for the residents, then we'll talk about saving the taxpayer a few thousand bucks on new cop cars. then when they get old, we can sell them for $800 not on ebay but on government deals dot com that nobody has heard of.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

4600 more for each vehicle. Tax increases possible for this project. Perhaps local dealers should give some thought and become engaged in the larger picture of selling 100 cars instead of 11 for the benefit of Lawrence taxpayers.

jayhawkbarrister 11 years, 4 months ago

Consider what happens when the low bid is not from a local dealer and is more than what the City could have gotten from the cooperative? Then both the local businesses and the local taxpayers get the proverbial drive shaft.

lunacydetector 11 years, 4 months ago

that electric car they bought cost $4500 more than a regular car. i recall that expense was justified AND it would almost equal the amount of the 11 cop cars combined - about $4,600.

they bought it because boog said it would stop the 'global warming' threat.

Ward 11 years, 4 months ago

Loony, that one car would STOP the global warming threat?

monkeyhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

If local dealers cannot compete, taxpayers should NOT have to subsidize their businesses. Let them join the Mid America Council of Public Purchasing if they want to play.

"They all pay a lot of taxes, and they all contribute a lot to this community." How much of the taxes they pay actually come from OUR pockets in the form of sales tax?

"But purchasing professionals are cautioning commissioners the new policy may be a bit of a lemon for taxpayers." We already have enough lemonaid to last a lifetime.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 4 months ago

"Why can't the local businesses put out a bid for 100 cars"

They are rinky-dink. That's the same reason why a hot dog stand cannot cater a state dinner at the Governer's mansion.

optimist 11 years, 4 months ago

I would suggest the city award bids to the local provider even if the local provider is 2-3% higher. The assumptiong that at least that much will be returned to the city in the form of tax revenue and other indirect benefits.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

At 3400 per SUV and 4600 total for 11 vehicles averages to approx. $670.00 more per vehicle. What do you think?

The cars(Toyotas) we've bought in KC metro were 2000 -3000 less than Lawrence. Our sales person said he takes less per sale yet sells more cars thus higher paycheck. 20 years later he still at the same location so he said.

Our policy is always give Lawrence merchants first shot and most always Lawrence gets the sale. Would we drive to KC to save $5 or $10...absolutely not. Anyway gas prices of today give a person plenty to think about.

SteelHorseRider 11 years, 4 months ago

"a sport utility vehicle purchase for the Fire & Medical department "

The types of vehicles we are purchasing should be reviewed. For instance, I see city workers driving full-size pickups by themselves around town when it appears they could be using a smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient product. Maybe the large trucks last longer or are more efficient to operate when considering maintenance??? I hardly think so.

More importantly, I never have figured out why the Fire Chief needs to drive the biggest, most expensive, gas-guzzling Ford Subdivision (Excursion)???? One guy and a vehicle that large? I'd think a Ford ranger pick-up would suffice and save a large amount of assets in both the green-house gas and pocket book departments. Maybe not as cool, but surely it would save the city money.


dizzy_from_your_spin 11 years, 4 months ago

Put the purchase of the vehicle(s) up for bid(s) with the proviso that the local dealer has the opportunity to match the low bid.

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