City Council members gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a change in the city’s bidding regulations for public-private partnerships.
Bidding will no longer be required for construction work jointly financed by city and private money – if general contractors agree to select their subcontractors through a competitive process approved by city staff. The city also plans to engage a third-party expert in these instances to verify construction estimates and contracts.
Projects entirely financed by taxpayers would still require competitive bidding.
City Manager Robert Layton and Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner led the charge to eliminate no-bid projects in 2012, along with former council member Michael O’Donnell. Since then, all city-involved projects have required competitive bidding.
The change was endorsed by the Association of General Contractors of Kansas, with executive vice president Mike Gibson saying the group applauds the council’s move.
Before 2012, Wichita had a no-bid process for public-private projects that dated from the mid-1990s, according to city staff.