By Megan Baughman
Mason News staff writer
This year, Mason voters will decide whether the City Charter should be amended to let the city make more purchases without requesting bids. The amendment would raise the amount the city can spend without going through the process.
When the City Charter was adopted in 1951, it stated that $7,500 was the highest that could spend on equipment, and if it went above $7,500, the city had to go through a formal bid process. “Being that it was 1951, it has been recommended that we increase the bid level and Council approved it to raise it up to $10,000,” said Mason City Clerk Deborah Cwiertniewicz. “In today’s world, $10,000 is more reasonable. There are many things the city is going out to bid for that is costing us more to do that then it’s worth being at that threshold.”
This change would apply to anything approved within the city’s budget. “We’re not authorized to purchase anything unless we have budgeted for it,” said Cwiertniewicz. “We turn in a budget request and determine what each department needs for their budget for the next year by line item.” She brought up an example of how they did a bid on repairing the digester roof, which purifies the water at the wastewater treatment plant. “We were required to go out to bid when actually we may have been able to simply get three quotes somewhere from vendors and make the decision from there,” she said. “We wouldn’t have to wait for it to go to Council, which basically is a six-week process, so we have to wait for these items as well whether it’s a repair or and item we need for work.”
Voters will be asked if they are in agreement that the threshold for purchases should be $10,000 by checking yes or no. Raising the bid level for purchases would save time and money for the city and voters have the option to make this possible or keep it where it’s at.
For more information about the City Charter amendment and voting, visit the city of Mason’s website.