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Geography now an advantage in village's bid process



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January 16, 2013 - Where a company or contractor is located will be a significant factor in Oxford Village's bidding process from now on.

Last week, council voted 3-0 to adopt an amendment to the municipality's purchasing ordinance that gives a distinct advantage to businesses and companies located in the United States, Michigan and Oxford Village and Township by effectively making them the lowest bidder if they meet certain criteria.

Supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services "made in the United States or provided by a wholly-owned United States entity" that are part of a "responsible bid" submitted to the village and "within 3 percent of the lowest responsible bid, shall be treated as the lowest bid," according to the new language.

A "responsible bid" is one that meets the village's bid specifications and is made by an individual or entity that is considered to be qualified, trustworthy and able to provide the service or product.

The proposed bidding advantage increases to 5 percent when it's a Michigan product or service; 7 percent when it's made or provided by an Oxford Township company; and 10 percent for those goods and services originating from within Oxford Village.

The only exceptions will be bid awards that are subject to or involve "any other applicable law" that trumps the village's ordinance and prohibits granting this type of special credit.

For example, there are federally-funded programs that require contracts or jobs be awarded to the lowest qualified bidder, period, regardless of where they're located.

"We've only found, in our research, one instance (of this) and that would be your CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funding," said village attorney Bob Davis. "You do have to be strictly guided by lowest bidder (under that program) because the money's coming from the federal government."

There could be other federal grants to which that requirement would apply as well, Davis noted.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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