Buffalo Grove concerned over lack of bids for projects
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Melrose Pyrotechnics will continue to handle Buffalo Grove's festival fireworks for at least another three years.
DAILY HERALD FILE PHOTO
The lack of competitive bids for festival fireworks and other contracts has Buffalo Grove trustees concerned they are not attracting enough interest.
The village has a centralized purchasing and procurement program that is less than a year old. It calls for the village to bid out more contracts, rather than just relying on prior relationships.
The fireworks contract, however, got only one bidder. While the custodial contract had six bidders, twice as many companies were originally interested.
Brett Robinson, the village's central purchasing agent, said several companies were contacted about the fireworks contract, but only Melrose Pyrotechnics Inc., of Kingsbury, Ind., responded.
He said other festival contracts got a similar lack of response — only one company bid on the contract for portable toilets, for instance.
Trustee Jeff Berman said he understands the program is still new, but the lack of competitive bids so far is making him uncomfortable.
"I just want to make sure that this process is working as we intended it," he said. "If we're not getting participation, then we don't know that there is a competitive environment out there that's leading to the best possible prices."
Melrose Pyrotechnics and Buffalo Grove agreed to a three-year deal for fireworks at BG Days and the Fourth of July, at $20,000 per festival. The contract also allows for two one-year extensions. Melrose has been doing Buffalo Grove fireworks for more than 10 years.
Robinson suggested that maybe the lack of bids is more noticeable because the village is seeking competitive pricing for things it has not in the past.
Also, he said, most of the Buffalo Grove Days services in the past have been year-to-year contracts, rather than multiyear contracts.
He added that some companies do not like the tighter insurance requirements the village has imposed.
Trustee Andrew Stein said Melrose is a good company, and he would vote to approve the contract. But he is also concerned in general about the lack of bids, he said.
Village Manager Dane Bragg said staff will take a close look at the situation.
Bids for the custodial contract were rejected at a previous meeting because five of the six bids had irregularities.
On Monday, the village board voted — with the exception of Stein, who preferred rebidding the services altogether — in favor of waiving bids and renegotiating with the original bidders.
Twelve companies came to the pre-conference for the custodial contract — the meeting where potential bidders get more specifics about the job.
Trustee Beverly Sussman said it is unusual for 12 people to come to a pre-conference and only six turn in a bid.
Robinson, however, said several vendors dropped out because the project size was not what they had envisioned. Generally the scope of the project becomes clearer during the pre-conference.
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