The city recently awarded a bid for newspaper publishing services. Looking at the document below you can see that bidders were to base their prices on an anticipated volume of 5,300 lines per year. Using the numbers that the Times submitted that comes to about $43,000 per year.
When it came time to award the business the city allocated $250,000 per year to the Times. The contract was for three years with an optional two year extension bringing the amount to $1.25 million.
This was the wording of the agenda item:
Discussion and action on the award of Solicitation No. 2016-450 Newspaper Legal Notices (Re-Bid) to Texas New Mexico Newspapers Partnership dba El Paso Times for an initial three (3) year term estimated award of $750,000.00. The award is to include a two (2) year optional amount of $500,000.00 for a total five (5) year award of $1,250,000.00.
Department: Purchasing & Strategic Sourcing
Award to: Texas New Mexico Newspapers Partnership dba El Paso Times El Paso, TX Item(s): All
Initial Term: 3 years Option to Extend: 2 years
Annual Estimated Award: $250,000.00
Initial Term Estimated Award: $750,000.00 (3 years)
Total Estimated Award: $1,250,000.00 (5 years)
Account No.: Various
Funding Source: Various District(s): All
This is a Low Bid, unit price contract. The Purchasing & Strategic Sourcing Department recommend award as indicated to Texas New Mexico Newspaper Partnership dba El Paso Times, the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. Recommend Investor Publications, Inc. dba El Paso Inc be deemed non-responsive due to failure to bid on all items. In accordance with this award the City Manager or designee is authorized to exercise future options if needed.
Would the other bidder have placed a different bid if they knew what the real volume would be? Would other newspapers have placed a bid if they knew what the real volume was?
In the interest of clarity the contract is to be used to publish official notices. I don’t think that the city is actually paying the Times to publish its press releases as though they are news. I suspect that the Times does that for free.
We deserve better