Aiken County Council will consider changes to how County money is used to buy everything from office supplies to large-scale items such as cars and furniture during Today's meeting.
The proposed adjustments would alter the way the County's procurement office operates, especially when it comes to competitive bidding, according to Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian.
The ordinance would change the way items are bought by aiming to make the process more efficient, while still following local, state and federal regulations, he said.
He added that the County's procurement code hasn't been comprehensively changed or updated in more than two decades.
One of the key aspects of the proposal, he noted, is the change in the lowest value needed to go through the sealed bid procedure.
The County must currently take part in a sealed bid process if it wants to procure an item costing more than $10,000. The proposed changes would increase that value to $50,000.
“That process is very cumbersome for vendors. Sometimes, we don't get a lot of people to participate because it is so hard to do a sealed bid,” Killian said.
He also indicated that most large-scale items that the County needs cost more than the $10,000 threshold.
“With the price of things being a lot different from they were 20 years ago, the current process kind of slows everything down,” he said.
According to Aiken County Purchasing Manager Debbie Pearson, if an item or service costs more than $10,000, the County must advertise it and offer a specific response period, while companies must send in bids in sealed, time-stamped envelopes.
“The rule is that you're supposed to award it to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder,” Pearson said. “It's not just the lowest bidder, you have to actually have the capability to do the work.”
Currently, the County has a number of open bids on its website, including one to supply and install furniture at the new Aiken County Government Center, located on University Parkway.
In other business, Council will consider third reading of an ordinance authorizing a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with Recleim, a company establishing an appliance and e-waste recycling center in Graniteville.
• Michael Ulmer covers the county government beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since March 2013. He is a native of North Augusta and majored in political science at the University of South Carolina.