Public Hearing Tonight on Proposed Responsible Bidder Ordinance

Members of the public will have a chance to weigh in on a proposed responsible bidder ordinance for Starke County during this evening’s county commissioners meeting.

The measure is also slated for adoption tonight.

Such policies set clear and objective criteria contractors must meet in order to be eligible to bid on public works construction projects.

They include proof of licensure to do work in the state, disclosure of any federal or state law violations, tax liens or delinquencies, description of the project management team’s qualification and experience, proof of participation in construction apprenticeship training programs and assurance the workers’ employment status will be properly classified.

Prospective bidders must also show proof of an employee drug testing plan as required by state law and proof of any required professional licenses. They must also list any projects of similar size or scope that they’ve completed and provide proof of adequate surety coverage.

Representatives of the Indiana-Illinois-Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting note while state and local laws require public construction contracts to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, the law rarely defines “responsible.”

They contend that adopting a Responsible Bidder Ordinance ensures all contractors are able to compete on a level playing field, and employees are protected from exploitation, which in turn leads to greater taxpayer value.

Several local governing bodies in Indiana have RBOs on the books, including the Town of North Judson, LaPorte County and the LaPorte Community Schools.

Click Responsible Bidding Ordinance to read a copy of the proposal. Tonight’s commissioners meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the annex building, or at the conclusion of the county council session.