File-Ohio road and bridge construction

Workers prepare steel for a new bridge constructed on I-480 on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Valley View, Ohio.

(The Center Square) – Ohio cities, counties and townships could join together to save taxpayers money on government construction costs if a plan in the Ohio House passes and is signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Local governments currently can come together on joint purchasing contracts for certain things, but construction services were not part of a 1997 law. Rep. Brian Lampton, R-Beavercreek, wants to add those services, and he believes it could be a savings for communities and taxpayers.

House Bill 275 promotes cooperative purchasing, which further promotes local control and allows local government the flexibility to make purchasing decisions in the best interest of taxpayers and the community,” Lampton said. “Clarity within the current law affects everything.”

The 1997 law allows for local governments to use joint purchasing agreements held by other governments to buy equipment, materials, supplies or services. However, it does not specifically include construction services. Lampton said that creates ambiguity and leaves local governments unsure of what they can and cannot do.

Joint agreements began in 1997, allowing counties and townships to participate. The General Assembly made the option available in 2008 for all political subdivisions. The law allows local governments to take advantage of staff resources and leverage pooled buying power to find lower prices for goods and services.

Lampton said the Institute for Government Procurement concluded the idea is a “best practice” for government procurement officials.

The bill has not been assigned to a committee.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.