Council action removes local preferences from purchases

Webster City businesses hoping to land a contract with the city government will no longer have a local purchasing preference to help them out.

For years, the city had a policy that enabled the council to award a contract or purchase to a local company if their price was within 5 percent of the low bidder. That was changed by the City Council on Monday.

Councilman Logan Welch said the council was “pulling out the 5 percent local preference.”

That move came in the wake of a legal opinion issued by City Attorney Zach Chizek. Chizek wrote that he believes state law requires the council to do business with the company that offers the lowest responsive and responsible bid.

The council approved the purchasing policy change unanimously.

A contract for the purchase of three central air conditioning units at the wastewater treatment plant was the first one to be affected by the new policy.

The council on Monday reversed itself and bought the equipment from Reliable1, of Iowa Falls, for $17,043.29.

Stein Heating and Cooling Inc., of Webster City, offered a bid of $18,621. It had been awarded the contract during the council’s Aug. 6 meeting, but the elected officials rescinded that move Monday.

Mechanical Comfort, of Ames, offered a bid of $25,290.