Voting yes on Proposal 2 wouldn’t result in an immediate change, City and Borough of Juneau Engineering Director Roger Healy said. It would simply allow for more options when the city is considering awarding bids to contractors.
The proposal would make an amendment to the city charter, allowing the city more flexibility in awarding bids. Currently, the city gives bids to the lowest bidder, no matter what, Healy explained. This process is becoming less and less common as cities seek more options in procuring construction services.
“What we’re trying to do is amend our charter and bring it into the modern age of procurement,” Healy said. “Our charter was written back in the ‘70s, and procurement has changed over that timeframe. The State of Alaska, the City of Anchorage, the City of Ketchikan, the City of Fairbanks, have all advanced in their procurement beyond just the award to the lowest responsive bidder.”
For example, Healy explained, if a construction company is particularly experienced in building hospital operating rooms, city staffers might choose to give that company the job over a company that offers a lower bid but has less experience in that field.
There will still be a public process in awarding the bids, Healy said. That part of the charter isn’t changing. What is changing is the requirement that the city awards bids based solely on price. While the option to offer bids based on other factors will be there if voters approve this, Healy said, the majority of bids will likely be awarded based on price.
Proposal 2 is one of two ballot measures voters will decide this year in the Oct. 3 election.