ROCK FALLS – The Whiteside County Airport’s manager is against a proposal that would lower the threshold that triggers the formal bidding process, which he called “counterproductive.”
Currently, the airport goes out for bids when a contract is more than $20,000, but its attorney, David Murray, is proposing to reduce that amount to $5,500, said Mike Dowell, whose company, M&M Aviation, runs the county airport.
The $20,000 amount follows county guidelines, he said.
“This [proposal] is counterproductive,” Dowell said. “You add the cost of advertising and someone to formulate the bids, which would be Dave Murray. You have a lot of people who won’t bid on something when they may give you an estimate. I honestly feel that anything less than $20,000 is unnecessary, unless it’s a special project that the board feels it’s advantageous to bid out.”
At the same time, he said, the airport needs to clarify its rules on which purchases require airport board approval.
“I don’t want it to get so restrictive that I need the board’s approval to get a roll of toilet paper,” Dowell said.
Murray said that years ago, the threshold was $2,500, but the airport doesn’t have one now.
“We haven’t had anything over $20,000 for a long time. Most of our purchases have been under $5,000,” the attorney said.
The board is set to take up the issue at its meeting today.
“I put it on the agenda,” Murray said. “Mike disagrees with the board. He favors a high number, and the board favors a little lower number.”
The Whiteside County Airport Board meets at 5 p.m. today at the Whiteside County Airport Terminal Building, 10950 Hoover Road in Rock Falls.
The board is expected to vote on a policy on the bidding process.
Call the airport at 815-622-3591 for more information.