CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, (908) 527-4419
Tina Casey, (908) 527-4346


Municipalities save on county contracts

Elizabeth – When it comes to saving money, Union County municipalities and school boards are finding that sharing is the way to go. All twenty-one local governments and five school boards have partnered with the County in shared purchasing contracts that help cut costs.

"By joining with the County's purchasing arrangements, municipalities and school boards can manage their budgets more efficiently," said Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada. "We strongly encourage local governments to participate in our contracts whenever possible."

There are two kinds of shared County contracts. In cooperative contracts, municipalities join with the County to buy high-volume goods including fuel, road materials, and rock salt.

Because the bidding process is conducted through County offices, these contracts eliminate duplication between layers of government. Municipalities and boards can cut their advertising, administrative, and attorney costs.

Cooperative contracts also provide any municipality or board, no matter how small, with access to high-volume contracts that attract vendors with more experience and better service.

"Volume discounts can be another benefit of cooperative contracts," said Freeholder Chairman Estrada. "However, the real savings comes from cutting overlap out of the bidding process, and getting higher quality vendors."

All twenty-one municipalities currently participate in at least two or more cooperative contracts with the County.

The other kind of shared contract is extended contracting. In this arrangement, County contracts can be used by municipalities or school boards to purchase goods and services. As with cooperative contracts, local governments can eliminate the cost of processing their own public bid, get better access to high quality vendors, and take advantage of the buying power of the County.

At present, the County’s extended contracts cover more than forty different goods and services, from port-a-john rental and snowplows to plumbing services and locksmithing. All twenty-one municipalities are notified immediately when a new extended contract is available from a County vendor.

"When you take an entire budget into account, many different factors determine whether you are getting the best deal for your local residents," said Chairman Estrada. "With shared contracts, the County can work together with municipalities and boards to help manage our resources more efficiently."