In this year's general election on Nov 6, the following question will appear be on the ballot for all Norristown residents to vote on:
"Shall the Home Rule Charter of the Municipality of Norristown be amended to provide that council shall establish bidding requirements for public contracts by ordinance in the administrative code in order to remain consistent with state bidding requirements?"
New state law puts the bidding requirement at $18,500. Norristown currently requires bidding for projects $10,000 and over. Here is a link to a relevant article.
I am not sure how to vote on this question. The argument for voting "yes" is that the bidding requirements are costly to the township, so we will save money by not putting these contracts to bid.
However, bidding on public contracts should result in more competitive bids by companies vying for the contracts.
I am not aware of what the costs are to the township for putting a contract out to bid, or the cost savings of having competitive bidding. Another concern of mine is pay-to-play, which is when professional service contractors give generous campaign contributions to elected officials in exchange for no-bid contracts. I would think the lower bidding threshold of $10,000 would help prevent pay-to-play contracting.
Does anyone have any input on how to vote on this question? Are there any other advantages or disadvantages to keeping the current requirement or raising it? Does anyone know the costs of the bidding requirements or the cost savings of competitive bidding? How are you voting on this question and why?