For more than a decade, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors has been urging lawmakers to pass common-sense legislation that would save municipalities statewide hundreds of thousands of tax dollars a year – money that could be put to better use in Pennsylvania’s communities.
Just this week, the General Assembly sent House Bill 278 to Gov. Tom Corbett. The legislation would increase the minimum dollar amount that requires townships to advertise and seek bids for purchases and contracts. By upping the current threshold from $10,000 to $18,500, the proposal would mean that fewer local purchases would fall under the state’s cumbersome and bureaucratic bidding procedures. It would also mean that more local tax dollars could be invested where they would do the most good: in local services and projects.
PSATS Executive Director David M. Sanko sent a letter to the governor today urging him to sign the procurement reform legislation.
"The last time the bidding provisions were amended was in 1990, and they have been frozen in time since then, not allowing for inflation and thus eroding the purchasing power of township government," Sanko wrote. "Increasing the bidding threshold will make procurement more cost-effective and, as a result, will provide more choices that are advantageous to townships and their taxpayers."
In addition to increasing the current municipal bid threshold, House Bill 278 would require townships to seek telephone quotes for purchases and contracts between $10,000 and $18,500. Any purchase a township makes that costs less than $10,000 would not be subject to the state’s bidding and advertising requirements. Also, the minimum bid amounts in HB 278 would be adjusted annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,455 townships of the second class and for the past 90 years has been committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class represent more residents — 5.5 million Pennsylvanians — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.
The text of PSATS Executive Director David M. Sanko’s
letter to Gov. Tom Corbett:
Dear Governor Corbett:
Common-sense mandate relief is just a pen stroke away!
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors has long supported actions that provide relief from unfunded mandates from both Harrisburg and Washington. In difficult economic times when financial resources are limited, it is often MORE important for Harrisburg to do its part to ease "the cost of doing business" and help local taxpayers avoid property tax increases by providing relief from burdensome unfunded mandates…especially when it comes at no cost to the Commonwealth! We are pleased to have you as a partner in this venture to restore common sense and affordability to Pennsylvanians.
Currently before you for your review and consideration is HB 278 (PN 2419), which would amend the Second Class Township Code to increase the bidding threshold relating to municipal purchases. This bill is part of the Local Government Bid Limits Package, which would make similar changes to the other local government codes. The Association supports HB 278, asks for your favorable consideration, and urges you to sign this reform package into law.
The last time the bidding provisions were amended was in 1990 and they have been frozen in time since then, not allowing for inflation and thus eroding the purchasing power of township government. HB 278 would establish a new procedure where the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry would adjust the bid threshold annually to conform with the Consumer Price Index and thus allow local governments to maintain their buying power.
HB 278 would also increase the minimum threshold from $10,000 to $18,500 when a township must advertise and receive bids for purchases and contracts. Likewise, the telephonic quotation requirement would be increased to any amount between $10,000 and $18,500. Any purchase or contract below the newly set $10,000 threshold could be purchased without following the telephonic or bidding requirements.
Increasing the bidding threshold will make procurement more cost-effective and, as a result, will provide more choices that are advantageous to the township and taxpayer.
Your support of HB 278 along with the other House and Senate bills that are part of the bid limit package is greatly appreciated.
David M. Sanko