MONROE, La. (KNOE) -The City of Monroe is looking to make a significant change to the way they conduct city business. A proposal to allow the city to conduct more business without a formal bidding process appears before the Monroe City Council on August 24th.
The proposal would allow Monroe to award projects under $250,000 without opening the project to a formal bidding process. The current policy is anything under $30,000. The city believes the change will speed up projects around Monroe.
“Our current policy is anything over $30,000 has to go out for a formal bid, which requires city council approval to advertise, then we do the advertising. It’s just a longer process,” said City Attorney Angie Sturdivant.
Sturdivant also says that the move will put the city in line with the rest of the state. Kenya Roberson, who represents Black Business Owners United, says it will deny minority businesses a place at the table.
“That’s not even going to get our foot possibly at the door,” said Roberson. “If it was at 30,000 and we had issues at getting to the table, now you are going to take it up to $250,000.”
A city spokesperson told KNOE they will still post projects on their website, but how long they will be open for quotes will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
“The city will still require quotes and possibly RFP’s, request for proposals on all construction projects,” said Sturdivant.
Roberson wants more concrete policies on how projects will be advertised, the bidding process, and how projects will be chosen.
“How are they letting the minorities know that, in fact, the contracts are available,” said Roberson.
The city says that despite the process being less formal, they will still care for taxpayers’ dollars.
“We will still make sure the city is getting the best lowest price it can,” said Sturdivant.
Mayor Ellis announced today it’s the cities goal to award 15% of its projects to minority-owned businesses. Roberson says this new proposal will make that impossible.
“It’s not going to be met,” said Roberson. “It’s not going to be met, and quite frankly, I think they know that it’s not going to be met.”
The city says if the proposal is adopted, they will work with local businesses to create a system alerting them to new projects.
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