By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon city officials have agreed to double the limit – from $25,000 to $50,000 – for staff purchases that require competitive bidding.
The Yukon City Council on Jan. 3 voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance amending procedures related to purchases of supplies, materials, equipment, or contractual services.
Any supply, service, equipment, or contract valued at $50,000 or more is subject to Oklahoma’s Competitive Bidding Act of 1974.
At their Oct. 18th meeting, city council members voted 3-1 against a proposal that would have increased the threshold from $25,000 to $75,000 for general purchases.
Mayor Shelli Selby had wanted the limit set at $75,000, arguing the change was needed because of increased costs.
Selby referred to other municipalities that have raised their purchasing threshold to $100,000, as allowed by state law.
Ward 1 Council Member Rodney Zimmerman stressed the importance of “checks and balances” in the city’s fiscal policy by having the threshold amount listed in several places within the ordinance.
“Questioning that has nothing to do with the current city government,” Zimmerman said. “I trust what’s going on here, but I’m also looking in the future.
“If we are all doing our jobs right, somebody else someday will be doing these things. And you hope it’s somebody of the same character. But you never know, down the road.”
The newly approved ordinance describes procedures the City of Yukon’s “purchasing agent or authorized staff member” must comply with upon receiving a purchase requisition:
- If the purchase of supplies, materials, equipment, and contractual services is over $50,000, then formal competitive bidding procedures apply.
- If the purchase of supplies, materials, equipment, and contractual services is $5,000.01 to $49,999.99, open market procedures apply. Three quotes are required.
- If the purchase of supplies and/or materials is less than $5,000, no special action is required.
The exception is for valid emergency purchases less than $100,000, which are needed “because a condition exists which would endanger the safety, health or welfare of the public and/or would cause extreme financial loss to the city.”
Emergency purchases above $100,000 may be authorized by the city council after an emergency declaration.
“That would be for some type of disaster, like an ice storm or a tornado,” Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said. “That’s what we’re talking about in an emergency situation.”
‘VERY, VERY TRANSPARENT’
Mayor Selby asked that the ordinance be brought back to the city council Jan. 3 for consideration, with the purchase threshold changed from $75,000 to $50,000.
“This still keeps an ‘eye’ on what we’re spending,” Selby told fellow council members. “Nothing would be spent, except what has already been approved by budget.
“We would also still see it in the financial reports so that everything is very, very transparent.”
The $50,000 threshold will “at least allow us to purchase vehicles,” the mayor added.
Selby cited challenges Yukon city personnel faced when trying to secure three price quotes that had been required for purchases over $2,000 (up to $24,999).
“It’s becoming more and more difficult to get quotes,” she said.
With the new ordinance passed, Yukon city staff does not have to obtain quotes if the purchase is below $5,000.
“It will actually make it easier for the city to spend money than it is for me to spend an athletic budget – which is much smaller,” said Zimmerman, a Yukon High School coach.
“I can see where there could be a need for that.”