WF leaders explain how contract bidding process works

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Every first and third Tuesday of the month Wichita Falls city council considers many ordinances and resolutions. Lots of them include awarding contracts for city work. City leaders like to keep those dollars local if they can.

When the lowest bid for a contract to construct city streets or sell police cars comes from a group in Wichita Falls, that's typically who council will award it to. But when it doesn't, that's when the process changes.

"We're purchasing these items or services or goods with taxpayer money," District 4 Councilor, Jesse Brown said. "So every single item, regardless of the scope or size, we take very seriously."

There are two types of things councilors vote on: good and services.

"We're mandated to take the lowest bidder unless a local bidder is within five to ten percent of the lowest bidder," Councilor Brown said regarding goods. "Then we can choose to go locally to keep the money and resources local."

The city has more freedom to go with who they want for services but still use the same process they do with goods.

"We're not required to do that," Councilor Brown said. "But we do that because it's the best practice and we believe it's a fair practice."

"There's no preference for a buddy," Mayor, Stephen Santellana said. "There's no preference for someone you're familiar with or a family member."

Councilor Brown said these aren't decisions he takes lightly.

"We do not want individuals to point fingers at the city saying we are misusing our authority," he said. "We really try to use leading practices in municipal government and municipal operations."

Mayor Santellana thinks there's a misconception that the deals made are just political.

"I think you see it sometimes on TV and maybe in some south Texas border towns," Mayor Santellana said. "But it just really doesn't happen in Wichita Falls."

He and Councilor Brown want people to know it's an extensive process.

"We are your neighbors," Councilor Brown said. "We are citizens that shop in the same shops you shop at. And we try to make the best decisions for our city."

"I think a lot of these people are just trying to push our buttons," Mayor Santellana said. "But I will take any part of my day to explain that process to any citizen."

On Tuesday councilors will be considering a couple different contracts. One to Bruckner Truck Sales for Side Loaders and another to Wilson Contracting to clean up 21 city properties.

Mayor Santellana encourages people to educate themselves on the bidding process. Councilor Brown added that one of the council's goals is to save taxpayer money and they will do what they can to do that.

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