The Hall County Board of Commissioners may soon be seeing fewer purchases for approval, with staff having the authority to sign off on smaller purchases.
Commissioners will hold a hearing and vote Nov. 14 on whether to increase the threshold of a purchase that needs commissioners’ approval from $10,000 to $50,000. Zach Propes, the county’s financial services director, said the proposed ordinance is modeled after Gwinnett County’s rules and will make the purchasing process more efficient.
“It will allow the county to focus on what’s important in the purchasing process, where in the past, we were operating under dollar thresholds that were dated. They were developed many, many years ago,” he said. “As our operation has grown and inflation has impacted pricing throughout the economy, we found ourselves focusing in on areas that were no longer efficient.”
Purchases are usually included in commissioners’ consent agendas, a list of items approved collectively. For example, at the commissioners’ Oct. 24 meeting, they voted on some relatively smaller purchases that under the new ordinance would be approved by staff, such as about $37,000 for an order of pistols and holsters for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. They also voted on some larger purchases, such as about $330,000 for paving and asphalt repair at Murrayville Park, which the county is working to reopen.
Propes said the competitive bid process will still be in place.
Commissioners will not need to approve work authorizations with costs of at least $50,000 but below $100,000 -- those can be approved by a purchasing manager. Propes said the county has lists of approved vendors for services such as HVAC repair or plumbing that it keeps on call. Those vendors need to be approved by commissioners before getting on the list.
“We have so many county buildings and we have so many construction projects going on, it’s just more efficient for us to have a pre-qualified group of vendors,” Propes said.
Commissioners will vote on the purchasing ordinance at their 6 p.m. meeting Thursday, Nov. 14 at the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.
Proposed Hall County purchasing ordinance
- Contract values of $0 to $999.99 require a single quote and can be approved by a department head, division director or designee
- Contract values of $1,000 to $2,999.99 require a single quote and can be approved by a purchasing agent, department head, division director or designee
- Contract values of $3,000 to $9,999.99 require at least three verbal quotes submitted to purchasing and can be approved by a purchasing manager, department head, division director or designee
- Contract values of $10,000 to $49,999.99 require at least three written quotes and need to be advertised, and they can be approved by a purchasing manager, department head, division director or designee
- Contract values of more than $50,000 need to be formally advertised for bid and approved by the Hall County Board of Commissioners
- Work authorizations for services between $50,0000 and $99,999.99 such as plumbing or flooring are chosen from a pre-approved list of vendors and can be approved by a purchasing manager
- Work authorizations for services of more than $100,000 are chosen from a pre-approved list of vendors and require commissioners’ approval