Council nixes buying vehicle

KINGMAN - In a brief meeting Tuesday evening, the Kingman City Council agreed not to approve the purchase of a new Chevrolet Tahoe from a Phoenix-area dealer, opting instead to launch a public bid process to give other dealers a shot at the sale.

Council had been considering purchasing the vehicle from Midway Chevrolet, a state contract dealer, at a cost of $29,408. In the agenda packet, however, the KPD liaison had noted that the same vehicle could be purchased at local dealer Findlay-Nolte Chevrolet for $29,455, just $47 more.

City Attorney Carl Cooper explained that the local price was only included for comparison's sake, and that the city hadn't actually requested any formal bids. Instead, he said the city was engaging in "cooperative purchasing," a type of purchase where several cities or agencies will "piggyback" on a larger agency's procurement process in order to get better deals. In reality, the Phoenix price was the only one Council could consider for this purchase, unless members wanted to opt out of the cooperative purchase and launch a formal bid process instead.

Vice Mayor Robin Gordon noted that Council had been pushing a "Shop Local" campaign for the last two years, and she wanted to try to stick to that for procurement whenever possible, even though the city's procurement code typically requires the city to go with the lowest qualified bid. In this case, she said, the city ought to give local retailers a chance by putting the Tahoe out to bid.

"Since we've been so supportive of shopping local, I think it's in our best interest," Gordon said.

Cooper said the city was within its rights to do so, but he added that it could not deliberately solicit bids from local dealers only - the bids could come from any dealer in Arizona, and the city would still have to go with the lowest bidder, regardless of where they are located. He added that outstanding factors, like the sales tax a local purchase might generate, could not be considered when making a decision in the bid process.

KPD Chief Robert DeVries said the purchase, while necessary, was not an immediate concern, so long as the city makes a decision before the end of the fiscal year in June, which is when the stimulus funds for the vehicle must be spent. Gordon made the motion to deny the Midway purchase and pursue a bid process instead, with Councilwoman Erin Cochran seconding. The motion passed 6-0, with Carole Young excused from the meeting.