Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Give Me A Break....why tender anyway!

Years ago when I moved from my native Summerside to Charlottetown I ran into an old friend from Summerside who had moved away for what I thought was employment reasons, but after spending a few minutes discussing old times, I detected a sense of disappointment from his experiences in growing up in Summerside. He suggested to me something, that I didn't fully understand at the time, and that was "the Town should put up a sign at its entrance boosting The World's Greatest Collection Of Small Minded Thinkers". Although he was probably a little harsh in his comments I can't help but think that they may as well start digging the post holes if they are going to try and implement such a parochial scheme as preferred tendering. I'm almost scared to suggest it but they could probably call it the "The Great Wall of Summerside" and get another Government grant as a tourist attraction. Basil, you have a beautiful City with wonderful people, but don't screw it up with this backward thinking, as the next thing you know they will be wanting blood tests and they'll find out you're not a Summerside native and you'll be "booted" out.
City wants to cut local firms break on tenders
MIKE CARSON The Guardian
SUMMERSIDE — City council is looking to give local businesses a break when it comes to the tendering process, particularly on high-priced projects. The issue was raised at the June city council meeting Monday by Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart when the local firm of Curran and Briggs came in $32,000 above the lowest bidder, Island Coastal Services, on a water system upgrade project. Stewart wants to see Summerside businesses, or companies with head offices within the city, awarded tenders over companies outside the city, even though the locals are not the low bidders. The mayor said if the local firm is close, within a few percentage points of the low bidder, it makes more sense to keep the bid home and the money generated by the project in the city. Coun. Ron Dowling, chairman of the city’s technical services committee, agreed with the mayor and the policy for special treatment to local firms is now being reviewed.This is not a new concept for Summerside. The city does have a limited policy already in place.“In relation to the City of Summerside, it’s about a $15,000 ceiling on tenders for contracts on general purchases where we offer a percentage to local companies first that is in the city, Prince County, the province and, of course, off-Island,’’ he said. “We’re hoping to see that increased. When we get into major contracts where the money really counts during the summer, paving, sidewalks and other types of construction activities, sometimes the tenders are relatively close and, in some cases, for the sake of $2,000 or $3,000, we’re seeing $200,000 or $300,000 leave the community.’’ Dowling said one way to look at the situation is that it is a significant investment for the taxpayers of Summerside to keep those dollars bouncing around the community.“Summerside doesn’t have the benefit of some other areas of the province with relation to tourism attractions and we want to protect the jobs that we have in the area,” the councillor said. “We’re not talking about discriminating against other organizations. We’re simply saying, ‘Put your tender in bearing in mind that a higher percentage of preference will be given to a Summerside company versus a company outside of Prince County.”

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