City to do some of county’s purchasing

Two governments will team up to buy goods in bulk, saving taxpayers money

Grand Junction city staff will take on some procurement services for Mesa County in lieu of $50,000 payment for the contract’s first year.

The idea to combine the process for items both entities need or have the opportunity to buy in bulk is expected to save taxpayer dollars, according to Jay Valentine, assistant financial operations manager for Grand Junction.

“We think this is a benefit to the city to achieve greater quantities of scale and the real bonus or winner is the community and the taxpayers,” he said.

Grand Junction City Council members unanimously approved the deal by a 5-0 vote. Council members Bennett Boeschenstein and Bill Pitts were absent.

The city and county negotiated terms of the agreement to reach the $50,000 figure. The contract will be revisited in six months to determine if it’s working as planned, and it may be revised at that time.

Mesa County Administrator Chantal Unfug said the county had let go of one staff member who was paid about $25 an hour to do the duties of procuring materials for the county. That employee’s workload included preparing about 50 requests for proposals — or RFPs — a year. The salary for that position was about $50,000.

Additionally, council members agreed to revise and update the city’s purchasing policy and procedure manual. One of the main tenets that council members wanted to change was a $100,000 limit that could be spent on items only by authorization of the city manager.

That amount was reduced to $50,000, and council members would have to be notified and agree to spend any amount exceeding $50,000.

Also, the policy limits the amount in change orders that can be directly approved by the city manager to $50,000.

The policy also outlines the procedure for city audits, information which typically was given to council members during a workshop setting. City staff contracts with auditors to provide the services.

“I want to make sure council can see and discuss any future audits,” Mayor Tom Kenyon said.

In other news:

Council members unanimously approved a 10-year housing development plan for Redlands Mesa to include a range of new housing including single-family homes with increased density. No more than eight units per acre are allowed, but the developer can build up to 526 units in development. The developer already has built 70 units and a golf course in the area.

Council members unanimously approved purchasing a 2012 Smeal Freedom Custom Pumper fire truck for the Grand Junction Fire Department. The unit costs $368,791. The department’s old truck will be sold with proceeds going to a fleet replacement fund.

Council members unanimously approved rezoning 22 School District 51 properties to fit in with neighboring areas and to comply with the city’s comprehensive plan.

Council members observed a ceremony to honor two Grand Junction firefighters for their bravery in rescuing a co-worker in the White Hall fire. Firefighter Capt. Clark Thompson and firefighter Jerome Gardner located and rescued firefighter Cory Black after he fell through a hole and landed on his back in the burning structure. Thompson and Gardner received the Grand Junction Fire Department’s “Medal of Merit” for their work.


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Consolidating some purchases is a good move, but the story raises a couple questions in this new era of increased council micromanagement.

Does the new $50k purchasing limit include joint purchases or only all-city contracts?

How many purchases in prior years exceeded the $50k and $100k thresholds?

How much additional paperwork and bureaucracy will the change entail?

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