Norristown Municipal Council voted to add a question to the ballot in the November election asking for approval to amend the Home Rule Charter at the Tuesday, May, 15 meeting.
At issue is , which raises the threshold for the minimum amount that townships seeking bids for purchases and contracts would have to advertise for from $10,000 to $18,500.
The minimum was still $10,000 when the Home Rule Charter was written, so to comply with the new law and save the municipality money on advertising fees, the Home Rule Charter has to be changed to reflect the new state requirements.
Before they can change the Home Rule Charter, however, the ballot measure asking for the change has to be passed by the voting public. If the measure doesn't pass, Norristown is stuck with a more stringent limit than the state would require, costing the municipality money it wouldn't otherwise have to spend.
In an interview with Norristown Patch last year, Municipal Manager Dave Forrest said while the bill would mean less red tape and some savings for Norristown, most of the projects advertised for bid in the municipality are well past the $18,500 threshold.
"Most municipal road programs are hundreds of thousands of dollars," Forrest said last year. "We're putting in a new transformer – that's $165,000; $18,000 is a relatively small project. My guess is the law might result in some minimum savings. We'll just have to see."
In any case, the public will vote on the measure in the November 6 election. According to the ordinance passed at Tuesday night's meeting authorizing the ballot question, the question would read:
"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 Administration Code in order to remain consistent with State bidding requirements?"
Once the public approves the change, council will re-introduce the ammendment to the charter.