County defines ‘buy local’Sonju Superstore and Two Harbors Ford sent a scathing letter this winter to the Lake County board. The message? Buy local and not from the state discount pool.
Sonju Superstore and Two Harbors Ford sent a scathing letter this winter to the Lake County board. The message? Buy local and not from the state discount pool.
It turns out the county would buy local, if the price was right.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto said the Legislature created a new requirement for purchases estimated to exceed $25,000. Counties have to consider the criteria of availability, price and quality of supplies through the state’s cooperative purchasing venture (prices they have received for particular items) before they buy from another source.
Otto said they are not forcing counties to buy from the state.
In a response to the Sonju letter, County Attorney Russ Conrow, wrote that when the county makes purchases exceeding $25,000, but not above $100,000, the county can take sealed bids or negotiate with vendors on two or more price quotes. The county must consider the state cooperative price as a bid and make decisions based on the value criteria. Conrow said the county board can’t adopt a policy or establish a set percentage over the state cooperative price that it will accept.
Board Chairman Rick Goutermont said Tuesday the county has to have a justification for purchasing something from a local business that may be more expensive than a state bid.
The letter from the car dealerships says the county can adopt a resolution to set aside a percentage of its anticipated total purchases for “small targeted group businesses.”
Otto said neither Sonju nor Two Harbors Ford is a target business.
The purchase of squad cars for the sheriff’s department, which is already in the budget, had been delayed due to the disagreement. The sheriff’s department is also looking at selling some squad cars.
A letter about the counties purchasing policies is expected to be sent to local businesses.
Construction of an AT&T cell phone tower in Finland could begin in May and be completed by August. The board passed a resolution approving the notice of a private sale of tax forfeit land for $22,000 in April for the tower site.
Sell more land
Commissioner Tom Clifford suggested that the county become more aggressive in selling land and said the internet may be a good place to start. He said they should try different approaches to selling before lowering a price. Last week the board discussed getting a master list together of tax forfeited lands the county may sell in the future.
Split Rock campground
It was originally thought the Department of Natural Resources was going to take land from the Lake County for a proposed campground expansion at Split Rock. Now there has been language put in a bill that would require the DNR to either be involved in a land exchange or pay for it. County Coordinator Matt Huddleston said the DNR is leaning toward a purchase.