February 10, 2022 |
A bill ready for introduction during the upcoming legislative session would give county road and bridge departments more flexibility in awarding maintenance work.
Senate File 18 raises the minimum threshold amount for competitive bidding on road, bridge and culvert maintenance projects from $50,000 to $75,000. The bill specifies that the funding must come from a separate account dedicated solely for maintenance projects. The Transportation Committee sponsored the bill. Carbon County already uses a maintenance account for funding repairs on the road system here.
Carbon County Road and Bridge Superintendent Kandis Fritz said she welcomes the $25,000 increase in minimum threshold that the bill proposes.
Local governments are required to advertise for competitive bids when procurements exceed certain dollar thresholds. Bidding introduces competition with the intent to keep prices lower. The process also guards against favoritism, extravagance and fraud. It also causes administrative delays, impeding immediate repair work. With the increased threshold, Senate File 18 calls for a standards committee to bird dog any “egregious misuse of county road construction and maintenance funds.”
Fritz noted the bill also includes another provision that could be a big assist for Carbon County.
Pictured above: Damage at the bridge over Beaver Creek. Photo courtesy Road and Bridge Superintendent, Kandis Fritz.
According to the language in the bill, not more than $100,000 can come from the county road and bridge maintenance fund for the lease or purchase of motor graders. Fritz said that would be another big benefit to her department, which is responsible for grading and plowing hundreds of miles of roads each year.
If Senate File 18 passes during the upcoming budget session, it would become effective on July 1st.