Council considers a change to procurement policy

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Council member Adrian Gaspar requested a discussion and possible action item on the procurement policy currently in place for Manvel. Gaspar told his fellow members that most of them responded to a request from the recently disbanded charter commission that they were concerned with the policy used by city staff to spend money. Current state law allows the city manager to spend up to $50,000 with no requirement of city council notification of approval. Gaspar feels the city is too small for that amount and would like to see it decreased to $25,000. Fellow member Melody Hanson agreed saying the city budget has “quite a few” line items that fall under the $25,000 amount.

Current state law provides expenditures up to $500 without competing bids being required. Anything from $500 to $3,000 requires a minimum of three bids and anything from $3,000 to $50,000 requires three bids, two of which must be from historically underutilized businesses if they are available. City attorney Bobby Gervais told council that the current legislature as considering upping the threshold amount to $75,000 as some feel the current amount isn’t enough.” He said that some MUD’s already have been approved at the $75,000 level. But Hanson responded that larger towns with greater budgets may be better suited for the higher amount but feels Manvel’s budget remains relatively small and suggested the lower amount of $25,000 be implemented for a while so that “we have a little more understanding of what some of the expenditures are.” She concedes the expenditures are budgeted and is not questioning the justification of the expenditures but she would like council to have a better understanding of what is happening with city funds and how and why they are being spent.

City staff was directed to prepare a revision to the procurement policy implementing the $25,000 threshold amount to be reviewed and possibly approved at the next scheduled council meeting on February 23.

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