Catoosa County has amended its purchasing policy in an effort to facilitate more deals with local vendors.
During the Aug. 20 Board of Commissioner’s meeting County Attorney Chad Young explained the amendment, which will essentially give local vendors the opportunity to match low bids from outsiders if the quotes they give are close in price.
“This is a proposed amendment to the county’s existing purchasing policy to include a certain preference for local vendors,” Young said. “Under Georgia law, there are very limited circumstances where a county can show any kind of preference in the bidding process for local vendors. But to the extent Georgia law permits it, the proposed amendment would provide that if we have a bid or an RFP for purchase of certain items — if the low bidder is a non-local bidder, and the next bidder is a local bidder within four percent of the low bid — we give them a one business day opportunity to notify the finance office if they’re willing to match the low bid.”
Young emphasized that the county wouldn’t take the higher bid just because it’s local, but would instead give the local person a chance to match the low bid of the out-of-town vendor.
“A local vendor is someone who has an actual office in the county and who employs two or more persons, and that they’ve had that in place for at least six months,” Young specified.
Young added that the new rule wouldn’t apply to road, public works, or stormwater projects.
Prior to the vote on the amendment, the county’s existing purchasing policy followed Georgia’s bidding requirements that gave no preference to someone who happened to be a local vendor or contractor.
“This will give vendors an opportunity, if they’re within four percent on that first go round, to come in and match the low bid,” Young said.
In recent months, commissioners have continuously praised departments who’ve shopped locally, and ultimately approved the amendment with a unanimous 5-0 vote.