WICHITA, Kansas — Where is your taxpayer money going? City leaders just approved a “no bid” process to build city-owned projects.
KSN asked why.
“We’re still going to have open competition,” says council member Jeff Longwell. “The best argument for some of that is when a building like Water Walk, it’s a prime example where the garage and the building are tied together. That’s kind of hard to separate those two and do a conventional bid through the city’s bidding policy.”
City Council members voted, unanimously, to make it city policy to accept no bidding on public-private projects built by the city.
KSN asked Wichita residents what they think of the idea.
“Usually the lowest bidder wins,” says Elfriede Frazier, a Wichita resident. “And that’s not always the best idea quality-wise. So, I have no objection as long as they find the one to do the best job.”
“I think they need the lowest bid, don’t you?” asks Wichita resident, Lou. “I mean, I’ve been in construction 45-years and that’s the way we always done it.”
City leaders point to a long-standing city policy of allowing no-bid contracts for city projects, dating back to the 1990’s. In the 1990’s the city built the Hyatt downtown on the river and the private contractor wanted no bid. The idea stuck.
Still, KSN asked, why not open it all up for open bidding?
“Those are different no bids than what we are typically looking at,” says council member Jeff Blubaugh. “And we’ve met with contractors as well to verify.”
Council member James Clendenin says there will still be accountability.
“There will be a panel named to oversee the spending side of no-bid contracts,” says Clendenin. “It’s still a work in progress, but it will include developers, bankers and other industry leaders that know the cost of doing business.”