November 28, 2018 – In 1986, the Bi-State Regional Commission's member governments came together to form the Joint Purchasing Council (JPC) to develop an intergovernmental agreement and guidelines for the joint purchasing of goods. Over $48 million in products have been purchased since its establishment. Membership in the JPC requires city or county board approval and signing of the intergovernmental agreement. Currently, 31 governmental entities are members of the JPC. Bi-State’s membership dues fund agency staff time and bid materials needed by the program.

Bi-State employees Patty Pearson and Bryan Schmid work directly with about 121 government staff from various departments within Bi-State’s local governments, and maintain a database of about 152 vendors. They also assist with development of bid specifications, coordinate the bid letting and opening, complete the bid analysis, and coordinate the actual sending of purchase orders to the awarded vendors. Bi-State staff facilitate 15 bids throughout the year.

The JPC program reduces duplicative administrative costs, such as advertising, postage, bid preparation, and analysis for all bid participants. Vendors deliver all items as indicated on the bid participant supplied purchase orders. This reduces the need for local governments to “go shopping” for items and reduces fuel charges. Bid prices are firm and all-inclusive so there are no “surprise” fees added at the time of delivery. The JPC does not accept any additional delivery, freight, deposit, or fuel surcharges that are frequently added to invoices, if an entity were purchasing on their own.

Participating in the bid process is simple, and for many bids, it only requires entering quantities needed on an order form, approving the bid results, and creating a purchase order. Program participants share expertise and experience through participating in JPC meetings or special training sessions held with industry experts.

Current common purchases include calendars; printer supplies; fine paper; municipal water treatment chemicals and utility supplies; marking paint; street signs and hardware; street sign posts; ice melt; turf chemicals; athletic field dressing items; various types of seed; janitorial paper products, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items; garbage can liners; and food service supplies. The largest overall single bid purchase is for water treatment chemical at over $1.5 million per year. The most items purchased by bid is turf chemicals and seeds with 138 items, followed by janitorial supplies with 96 items. Individual members cost savings can be from 25-80% of the retail costs for various bid items.

For more information, please visit the Joint Purchasing Council website at http://bistateonline.org/2012-11-14-00-34-51/joint-purchasing-council or contact Patty Pearson at (309) 793-6300 ext. 1138.