Attracting more vendors, along with promoting competitive pricing due to a lack of local business participation, is driving Buda to update its procurement process for bids on city projects.
According to city officials, there is a nationwide trend affecting municipalities attempting to procure bids for projects initiated by municipalities, but conducted outside of a contract. The city of Buda is required to request multiple bids on any project totaling more than $50,000, but it often receives only one or two bids total.
Municipalities request bids on projects in an effort to promote competitive pricing, along with ensuring the best product outcome by looking at multiple vendors. Cities also compare vendors’ capabilities and their estimated costs. On Oct. 3, Buda City Council discussed changing their process of finding vendors and surveying those vendors who choose not to bid.
Buda City Council member Paul Daugereau said he believes vendors need more time to bid on projects as companies must go through legal channels and technical processes before submitting a final offer.
“(Bidding) takes a little time to get,” Daugereau said during the Oct.3 meeting. “Two weeks will never be enough…so we’ll keep getting what we have with people not turning in bids.”
According to Victor Castillo, purchasing manager for Buda, the city will now have longer application periods to allow vendors to complete necessary tasks. Castillo said the main reason vendors say they are not interested is because they do not meet the qualifications needed to complete the project, but others feel pressure due to tight time constraints.
When municipalities receive multiple bids, council members are able to choose options lowering the cost of projects, leaving room in their budgets for money to be spent on other projects and initiatives.
“According to the state, we’re allowed a five percent cost difference when it comes to choosing local vendors,” Castillo said. “So, we have an emphasis on local vendors and we’re always wanting to attract more.”
The lack of bids can cause issues for city-sponsored events. Earlier this month, Buda only received one bid from a San Antonio-based company for its plan to expand the fireworks display at Red, White and Buda.
City officials could lengthen the show if they could find a closer vendor at a more affordable rate. By changing the process, city officials hope they can encourage more businesses to bid, or to possibly complete a survey if uninterested.
“We’d always like to receive as many bids as we can,” Castillo said. “We send out a survey to those who don’t bid and they can submit it whenever, but we haven’t gotten a lot of responses yet.”
Bids must be delivered to the city by mail or in person to qualify. The city advertises projects at least two weeks in advance of the bid opening date. Questions regarding bids can be forwarded to Buda’s purchasing department.