The City of Prince Rupert currently has bids out for three pickup trucks, with no apparent preferential treatment for local bidders on BC Bid.
At the Feb. 11 council meeting, councillor Barry Cunningham raised issue with the bidding policy using BC Bid, a provincially run procurement website.
“I was wondering if businesses that pay taxes in this town will have preferential treatment. I noticed that the last time we put out a tender for a vehicle, it went to a company in Terrace and the difference in price was only $1,500 and if you get a couple of warranty calls on a vehicle that $1,500 is eaten up pretty quick,” Cunningham said.
He would rather see businesses that pay taxes, and employ residents, supply the city with vehicles.
“I just think it would be good. It’s common sense and it’s good business for our town and the city to take the lead on buying locally,” he added.
Chief financial officer, Corrine Bomben said there is no policy in place to give preferential treatment to businesses in town, but said they could look into the language.
Municipalities can use BC Bid or their own procurement website when looking for services or acquiring goods, as long as it is publicly posted.
In the tender package, the city does note that it “may not accept the lowest or any bid and may, at its sole discretion, accept any bid that is deemed to be most beneficial to the city.”
Brian Musgrave, general manager and owner of Rainbow Chrysler, saidthe city does have provisions in there.
“Since 2002, the amount of times the city has gone out of town has been very minimal. I think the city’s practices are very good,” he said.
He understands, being a taxpayer himself, that if the city were to save a few hundred dollars here and there it makes sense.
Kevin MacCarthy, general manager for MacCarthy GM in Prince Rupert, said of course he’d like to see preferential treatment, but he understands the nature of the business.
“If someone out of town can offer a significant price reduction for what they’re going to get, we’re all in business. That being said, we’re usually very competitive, and the likelihood that would warrant them going out of town is slim to none,” MacCarthy said.
Another consideration is that if the city was purchasing a new vehicle, MacCarthy said it wouldn’t make sense to buy a Ford, for example, because then all the warranty calls would have to be out of town.
“We can also see anything on BC Bid, we usually don’t reply to any tenders other than our local area,” he said.
The tender for the three vehicles closed at 2 p.m. on Feb. 15.
With files from Matthew Allen
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