Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Buy-local policy

March 11, 2009


Commissioners want to explore the adding of a buy-local clause to the city’s purchasing policy.

Commissioners directed staff to explore how the city could create a policy to accept local bids for products and services even if they were not the low bid. Commissioners said they would want to require the local bids to be within a few percentage points of the low bid.

Commissioners asked staff to study the issue after receiving bids for nine police cars. Shawnee Mission Ford had the low bid at $196,896. But the bid from Lawrence’s Laird Noller Automotive was only $738 higher.

“This seems like such a small percentage to take such a large amount of business away from a local vendor,” Commissioner Sue Hack said.

Commissioners delayed taking any action on the police car bids until staff members could bring back a report on a buy-local policy.


Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

I say no. Local vendors will $50 an $500 taxpayers to death which adds up to millions. This idea is not fiscally prudent.

Better yet why not ask Laird Noller to match the low price. It seems with a few hundred dollars difference Laird Noller likely could match that price.

Best be very very careful. I say the better policy would be to provide a Lawrence bid the opportunity to match. No use adding to the cost of living when money is supposedly tight.

A policy such that is being suggested could easily cost taxpayers a bunch of tax dollars. An Opportunity to Match policy would be the fair policy.

Personal experience has taught me that getting many things done in Lawrence cost more because it is Lawrence,Kansas not because it is necessary.

Out of town plumbers who focus on Lawrence come to mind. Inflated rates stink.

triplegoddess13 9 years, 1 month ago

That $738 could go somewhere else to help the budget. There is no need to spend extra money for no reason.

Michael Capra 9 years, 1 month ago

should people use the lawn guy thats nuts or the guy that does the job right for a couple of bucks more. low bid isnt always best isnt that right merril

cowboy 9 years, 1 month ago

Merril's newfound fiscal responsibility , worried about 738 dollars after throwing millions down the T drain and the sidewalk drain. Hippocrite

Richard Heckler 9 years, 1 month ago

Whoever said buy local at any cost? Nowhere have I said that. Spending money locally is better for the community because it does keep dollars in town to be spent again somehow.

However allowing local vendors the opportunity to match their competition seems fair and square.

What I have said is that after serious price checking I find Weavers Housewares,Cottins and some other local merchants prices are as good as any where else in town. Which is why I do not shop Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart does not offer the same quality in most cases.... I like to get a better bang for my buck.

70% of Taxpayers voted in support of the tax increase for the T which I supported. I did not support the tax going to primarily westside infrastructure although 70% of taxpayers did. It does seem to me eastside tax dollars are going for westside expansion which is why Lawrence needs some eastside supporters on the new city commission instead of the current 4-1 in favor of westside.

Unlike me 458 casual the plumber has some conflict of interest is supporting Commissioner Hacks idea. However I did not condemn the quality of his work.

I do contract with local plumbers,electricians,carpenters etc etc for the quality of their work. I shop Graggs paint store as well.

Yesterday a person went to shop Wal-Mart for some meat products and were astonished at their prices. Off they went to Dillons. If Checkers had been closer the man said they would be shopping Checkers.

Yes allowing local vendors to match competition is a reasonable approach.

James Hicks 9 years, 1 month ago

Absolutely a great idea. Most city projects are funded by our taxes. Why send the money out of town where we won't benefit by the redistribution of the funds by purchased made by the spending of profits from the local business. Buy local has always been the rallying cry of our downtown merchants. There does need to be some type of regulation to keep local bidders close to the low bid. For too long, outside contractors have moved in and taken good projects away from local contractors, never to be seen again. Until the next big project arrives.

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

Buy local. Local should be a few percentage points LOWER since, well.... it's local.

skinny 9 years, 1 month ago

Save the money, you'll need it with the economy the way it is.

You'll also get better and faster service than you would with Laird Noller. Ask anybody with a fleet of cars!

Trust me, go with the low bid here!

BigAl 9 years, 1 month ago

Buy local as often as you can. Keep the tax dollars at home. Shawnee Mission Ford doesn't employee anyone in Lawrence. Shawnee Mission Ford doesn't pay any property tax in Lawrence. Shawnee Mission Ford doesn't support Lawrence in any way. Laird Noller employees about 75 people in Lawrence and they all pay local taxes. I'm sure that Laird Noller pays a large amount of property taxes in Lawrence and Douglas County. Laird Noller is worth a whole lot more than $738 to Lawrence.
This is a no brainer. Buy local.

Moderateguy 9 years, 1 month ago

I believe Merrill's idea about allowing somebody to modify their bid to "match" the low is basically illegal (as it should be.) The proposed policy change is really the only way around it. I support the change as long as the percentage limits are reasonably stated.

labmonkey 9 years, 1 month ago

Laid Noller sucks. I have had horrible experiences with them. Go with Shawnee Mission Ford. You will get better service there anyway.

I lived in a rural county with one car dealorship growing up and the Sheriff's department always bought their cars through there...even though the dealorship was jacking up the price. Finally, they decided to ask for bids and the dealorship a county over gave a much, much lower bid...but for some reason it was a scandal they bought from the next county over. Buying local isn't always the way to go.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 1 month ago

Contractors that are in the building trade, and need a warehouse/office go to Topeka, Eudora, Gardner because it is more cost effective. The planning and zoning in Lawrence is tough. If a builder wants build a shop, or storage building, it cost a ton of money for lawyers, engineers, landscape architects, and the list goes on. When the contractors building is completed in Lawrence, it usually is way over budget.

Then come the commercial property appraisals, and taxes assessed at 25-30%.

And we wonder why commercial building contractors from Topeka can bid jobs lower than Lawrence contractors.

If the city of Lawrence wants to support local business, they should try making it more affordable to set up shop here.

roosmom 9 years, 1 month ago

make the bids easily accessable to the public to keep business honest. public opinion is worth a great deal. then always buy local if the bids are reasonable.

Michael Capra 9 years, 1 month ago

flyingdragon, walmarts son,wow do I get all the money too.back away from the bong

Raider 9 years, 1 month ago

I am in the process of shopping for sod for my back yard. I called Pines Farm. They wanted $4.50 per roll, not installed. Then on top of that they wanted $135 to deliver it to my drievway, plus an additional $60 deposit on the pallets.

I called Topeka Sod Farm, the same sod (tall fescue) from them is $2.00 / roll. I have the option of picking it up myself or paying them a small delivery charge.

Austin Sod Farm in KC will deliver AND install the same sod for $4.50 per roll.

Point is, local businesses keep their prices high because they know we do our best to shop local. However, in this case I'd be a fool to buy sod from Pines when I can get the same thing for half the price 20 miles down the road.

I've found this to be the same with a lot of other local home improvement type services in Lawrence.

JohnBrown 9 years, 1 month ago

This is a good idea, if done right.

Ask yourself: Why are we a city? Then ask your self: what dynamics does a city need to be, itself, dynamic?

If outside vendors are aware of this bias, then they may lower their bids.

OzChicklet 9 years, 1 month ago

flamingdragon - why you talk so funny?

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

Buy local.......hmm..........

Me thinks flamingout spends too much at

Maybe he will clue us in when gets to the funny part...

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

when HE gets to the funny part

(now he's got me doin' it)

Jeremy Lichtenauer 9 years, 1 month ago

Laird Noller is a Topeka, KS based business with an office in Lawrence. While Laird Noller does contribute to the local economy via employment and taxes, it is not a Lawrence based business.

It's like calling Toyota a United States based business because they have offices and plants in America.

If Laird Noller wants to sell vehicles to the city, then they need to be the low bidder - Period.

dipweed 9 years, 1 month ago

Local vendors always have an opportunity to win the business. It's called a sealed bid. Lowest cost that meets specifications wins the business.

50YearResident 9 years, 1 month ago

What is the diffferance in sales tax between Lawrence and Shawnee Mission? 1% more in KC amounts to $1960.00 on an order of $196,000 car purchase. Plus the cars have to be driven to Lawrence at what added expense? All expenses need to be figured in the final out of pocket price paid.

concernedone 9 years, 1 month ago

That works both ways. If other cities and states have similar rules then Lawrence and Kansas businesses lose when bidding on work there.

Protectionism is not good for anyone in the long run.

However, having a local service department may be a stipulation in the bid, or at least factor in with the price.

I would think that allowing another vendor to meet the low bidders price is unethical in public bids.

dubstep 9 years, 1 month ago

Like the idea or not, we should credit Hubbard Collinsworth (hope I got that right) for bringing this up. He regularly comes to the meetings, and the proposal to purchase the vehicles was on the consent agenda, and likely would have proceeded with the deal had Hubbard not asked it to be removed from the consent agenda to discuss the bidding process, and if any local vendors had bid, and how big a difference it makes. This sparked conversation about a buy-local preference policy, which the city does not have but has discussed in the past.

The total was nearly $200,000 and Nollar was higher by $700 and change. That would really help our dealership, which one might assume is not having the best time right now.

Thank you Hubbard for your close reading of the agenda and your commitment to the city.

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

"of course as long as there is a limit say no more than 5% premium for local."

Why premium? Why not no higher than at a 5% discount for local?

What is local? I would think 20 miles away would be "local". Is Wal-Mart local to 6th street? How far before it's not local? 1 mile? 2, 10, 20, 100, 2000 miles?

Who decides?

storm 9 years, 1 month ago

Buying local is generally a good idea for food but not for services. I tried a local pest-management company, and the exterminator missed two of three appointments. I had two gift certificates that were with a business that changed ownership in 2008 but wouldn't honor the certificates because the expire date had been handwritten changed to 2008, evidently the gift certificates had 2007 pre-printed on them and were purchased December 2007. And does anyone remember Cheat Johnson Furniture? No. Buying local is not always the way to go, except for food, maybe.

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