ORDINANCE NO. __________



The city of Duluth does ordain:

     Section 1. That Section 41-23 of the Duluth City Code, 1959, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:

Sec. 41-23.    Contract procedure--contracts exceeding $25,000.

     Purchase of all supplies and contractual services exceeding an estimated cost of $25,000 shall be made by the purchasing agent pursuant to the provisions of this Section either by formal written contract or upon a properly executed purchase order, whichever method such purchasing agent deems appropriate, from the lowest responsible bidder after due notice inviting proposals. All sales of personal property when the estimated value shall exceed $25,000, shall be made by formal written contract or such other means of conveyance as the city attorney may prescribe to the highest responsible bidder after due notice inviting proposals.

     (a)  Notice inviting bids;

           (1)  Published notice Newspaper. Notice inviting bids shall be published in at least two issues of the official newspaper of the city or shall be published on the city’s Internet website. The time set for the opening of such bids shall be not less than ten days from the date of the last publication of such notice in said newspaper or not less than 11 days after its publication on said website. Such newspaper notice shall include a general description of the articles to be purchased or sold, shall state where bid blanks and specifications may be secured and the time and place of opening bids;

           (2)  Bidders list. The city purchasing agent shall also solicit sealed bids from all responsible prospective suppliers who have requested their names to be added to a "bidders list," which the purchasing agent shall maintain, by sending them a copy of such newspaper notice or such other notice as will acquaint them with the proposed purchase or sale. In any case, invitations sent to the vendors on the bidders list shall be limited to commodities that are similar in character and ordinarily handled by the trade group to which the invitations are sent;

           (3)  Bulletin board. The city purchasing agent shall also advertise all pending purchases or sales by a notice posted on the public bulletin board in the city hall;

     (b)  Bid deposits. When deemed necessary by the city purchasing agent, bid deposits shall be prescribed in the public notices inviting bids. Unsuccessful bidders shall be entitled to return of such deposits where the purchasing agent has required such. A successful bidder shall forfeit any such deposit required by the purchasing agent upon failure on his part to enter a contract within ten days after the award. For the purpose of this Subsection, the term "deposit" shall mean cash, cashier's check, certified check or corporate surety bond;

     (c)  Bid opening procedure;

           (1)  Sealed bids. Bids shall be submitted sealed to the purchasing agent and shall be identified as bids on the envelope;

           (2)  Opening. Bids shall be opened in public at the time and place stated in the public notices;

           (3)  Tabulation. A tabulation of all bids received shall be posted for public inspection;

     (d)  Rejection of bids. The city purchasing agent shall have the authority to reject all bids, parts of all bids or all bids for any one or more supplies or contractual services included in the proposed contract when the public interest will be served thereby. The purchasing agent may reject the bid of a contractor who is in default on the payment of taxes, licenses or other money due the city;

     (e)  Award of contract;

           (1)  Authorization by city council. Contracts within the purview of this Section shall be awarded only after authorization by resolution of the city council;

           (2)  Lowest responsible bidder. Contracts shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. In determining lowest responsible bidder, in addition to price, the purchasing agent shall consider:

                 (A)  The ability, capacity and skill of the bidder to perform the contract or provide the service required;

                 (B)  Whether the bidder can perform the contract or provide the service promptly or within the time specified without delay or interference;

                 (C)  The character, integrity, reputation, judgment, experience and efficiency of the bidder;

                 (D)  The quality of performance of previous contracts or services;

                 (E)  The previous and existing compliance by the bidder with laws and ordinances relating to the contract or service;

                 (F)  The sufficiency of the financial resources and ability of the bidder to perform the contract or provide the service;

                 (G)  The quality, availability and adaptability of the supplies or contractual services to the particular use required;

                 (H)  The ability of the bidder to provide future maintenance and service for the use of the subject of the contract;

                 (I)  The number and scope of conditions attached to the bid;

           (3)  Award to other than low bidder. When the award is not given to the lowest bidder, a full and complete statement of the reason for placing the order elsewhere shall be prepared by the purchasing agent and filed with the other papers relating to the transaction;

           (4)  Tie bids;

                 (A)  Local vendors. If all bids received are for the same total amount or unit price, quality and service being equal, the contract shall be awarded to a local bidder. If two or more local bidders submit tie bids, the purchasing agent shall award the contract to one of the tie bidders by drawing lots in public;

                 (B)  Outside vendors. Where tie bids are submitted by outside vendors, the purchasing agent shall award the contract to one of the tie bidders by drawing lots in public;

           (5)  Performance bonds. The city purchasing agent shall have the authority to require a performance bond, before entering a contract, in such amount as he shall find reasonably necessary to protect the best interests of the city. He shall require a performance bond in every case where a law specifically requires the furnishing of a bond as a condition precedent to the awarding of a contract for the doing of any public work or the making of any public improvement;

     (f)  Prohibition against subdivision. No contract or purchase shall be subdivided to avoid the requirements of this Section.

     Section 2. For a period of six months from the effective date of this ordinance, all solicitations for bids published on the city’s website as herein authorized shall also be published in full in the city’s official newspaper along with a statement indicating that said solicitation for bids can be found on the city’s website and giving its website address.

     Section 3. That this ordinance shall take effect 30 days after its passage and publication.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:  The purpose of this ordinance amendment is to amend Section 41-23 of the Code to authorize publication of solicitations for bids on the city’s website as an alternative to publishing it in the newspaper.

Historically, the city has advertised for bids in its official newspaper in conformance with the state’s general requirements as is presently mandated by the Code. In recent times, the Internet has become a much more common means of communications. In recognition of this fact, in 2005 the state authorized cities to use their websites to solicit bids as an alternative to newspaper publication. Publication on the web is expected to produce substantial savings to the city in the costs of publication.

This amendment would modify the City Code to authorize the city to take advantage of this change. In conformance with the state’s authorization however, it would require the city to publish its solicitations in the newspaper for a period of six months and to direct interested parties to its website in order to assist potential bidders in getting used to the new form of advertizing.