The Township of Wellesley is set to review its purchasing bylaw, with an eye to cutting down the number of small-budget items that are brought to council for approval.
Coun. Jim Olender called for the review at the Oct. 5 council meeting, questioning why low-cost purchases that are included in the budget must be approved again by council.
“I just think we’re a little bit too cumbersome at this point in time,” Olender said in an interview. “A lot of this stuff that does come to council has already been approved in the budget.”
Under the township’s current purchasing bylaw, any item over $12,000 must be tendered out through public advertisements for bids. For items between $6,000 and $12,000, staff is required to get three written quotes.
“To have to go to tender for something that’s $12,000, that’s ridiculous to me,” Olender said Monday. “When we’re talking about things for $12,000 to go to tenders, that was 50 years ago.”
Few other municipalities have such low purchasing limits, he noted.
“This stuff would never come to council, because they’d never get any other business done.”
At the Region of Waterloo, staff has to get three written quotes for purchases between $10,000 and $100,000. Items over $100,000 have to go to tender.
In Woolwich Township, staff is required to obtain two written quotes for purchases between $5,000 and $10,000, and three written quotes for purchases under $50,000. Sealed tenders and council approval are required for purchases over $50,000.
Coun. Herb Neher seconded the call for a review, saying some purchases could be carried out without a motion from council.
“I would still like to see some of this, but strictly for information purposes, not as a motion,” he said.
Mayor Ross Kelterborn expressed some reservations about giving staff the go-ahead to make purchases that are included in the budget.
“Just because it’s in the budget, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a done deal,” he said.
Olender also noted that even some items that are under the limits outlined in the bylaw are being brought to council for approval, and perhaps staff isn’t aware of what’s in the bylaw.
Olender is aiming to have any changes to the policy in place before next year’s budget is passed, to streamline purchasing next year.
Staff is set to report back at the next council meeting Oct. 20.