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Legal and advertising bids for the city of Richmond are coming back to Richmond.
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Wright on Friday at a combined meeting of the Public Safety and Ordinance committees requested that all advertisements for bids return to the pages of The Daily News immediately.
The Richmond City Council changed the ordinance in January and began publishing all of their advertising in the Lawson Review. City Administrator Rick Childers said that running advertisements in The Review is cheaper.
Daily News’ Legal Publications Editor Kim Tyler compared the price paid for the first advertisement to The Daily News’ rates. Tyler reported that The Daily News was slightly less expensive.
Wright said the move that was made in February is unpopular with residents.
“This is the city of Richmond and not the city of Lawson,” Wright said. “We do have reporters that come and cover our meetings the Lawson Review does not. The public is not happy that we are advertising in Lawson bottom line.”
Councilman Jim Dunwoodie said the city should be using local services.
“I think we need to be utilizing the services we have in this town before we go out of town,” Dunwoodie said.
Childers responded to Wright by telling him, “Alrighty– good luck,” and continued to claim that it was cheaper. Furthermore Childers told Wright that this was not an issue for the Public Safety or Ordinance Committee.
Wright said it is an Ordinance Committee matter. The Ordinance Committee did the legwork for the original change.
The committee may also look at changes that were made by the former council to the bidding process.
Currently, any purchase that is $5,000 or less can be authorized by the Mayor.
Childers said before the new ordinance was passed, there were no regulations or requirements for purchases and said that was the main piece that was focused on.
Councilman Bob Bond asked Childers if larger purchases are ever split up into increments of $5,000.
Last summer the council allegedly approved a lump sum of $10,000 for the landscaping around city hall that never went out for public bid.
Three people were contacted to provide a summary of what they would provide to the city for $10,000 including a nursery and the city’s contracted lawn mowing service. The contract was awarded to the third person contacted, Mayor Lance Green’s girlfriend Amy Dorton. Dorton does not own a landscaping company. Furthermore Green was scene performing the work. According to the city ledger, Dorton was paid with two separate checks for $5,000.
Council members also want to address local preference when it comes to bidding. City ordinance states that a Richmond company is considered lowest bidder if the bid is no more than 5 percent more than the lowest bid. Council members would like to see Ray County companies added as a second tier or local companies.
Photo: More than $5 million was spent on the new City Hall complex of which $10,000 went to the landscaping.
(Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)