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Madawaska board approves ‘local preference’ purchasing policy

MADAWASKA, Maine– The Madawaska Board of Selectpersons approved a proposed purchasing policy last month. The policy, which is effective immediately, provides the town guidelines and gives local businesses a leg up in the bid process.

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The policy provides specific details to town staff concerning when a formal bid process is not required and the various level of authority granted to department heads for routine expenditures and non-emergency expenditures, and also provides guidelines for when a competitive bid is required. It further empowers the town manager to determine whether an open competitive or a limited competitive process will be utilized.

Bids that have been previously authorized or budgeted will be awarded by the town manager. Awards for any goods and services not previously authorized shall be made by the Board of Selectpersons.

A key difference with the new policy is a provision for local preference to be given to local businesses in Madawaska and in communities within the St. John Valley. The local preference provision will only affect bids when strictly local funds are being used and is not part of a contract or award that is grant funded or with funds from state or federal agencies, for example.

If the local preference provision does apply, a Madawaska-based business will have a 2.5 percent competitive advantage over a non-Madawaska-based business, while a business based in another community in the St. John Valley will have a 1 percent advantage over a non-St. John Valley-based business.

Those percentages are based on contracts exceeding $50,000 and the overall price difference cannot exceed $5,000. For smaller contracts, there are higher percentage differences, such as between $25,000 and $49,000; a Madawaska business would have a 5 percent advantage while a St. John Valley business would have a 2.5 percent advantage.

“This policy provides a great structure and format for town staff to follow in regards to purchasing and it really streamlines our process internally. It is very efficient and effective, which is our overall goal for running town government,” town manager Ryan Pelletier said.

“The local preference policy is an attempt to recognize our local government supports local business first, and at the same time, supports our local region too. I think it’s a great way to support our local businesses and at the same time provide a fair playing field for any businesses that wishes to bid on Madawaska projects and contracts,” Pelletier said.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the Town of Madawaska purchasing policy, interested individuals may email Pelletier at rpelletier@townofmadawaska.net.

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