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Summer 2010 Vol. 18 No. 3

State’s cooperative purchasing program offers savings

Local agencies work together to cut costs

Counties, cities, and other local agencies often work together to form policies and jointly purchase supplies and equipment. They may have reciprocal highway maintenance agreements in which, for example, a county pays cities a maintenance stipend to maintain county roads located in cities. They may share equipment, such as a street sweeper; a building, such as a maintenance shop; or even a staff position, such as a bridge inspector. Local agencies also jointly plan use of federal and state transportation funds.

“With ever-tightening budgets,” says Julie Skallman, chair of the LTAP Steering Committee, “we can expect to do more of what we are already doing—working together and sharing resources.”

Is your salt budget looking tight, or does your shop need a new roof? If so, you might want to check out Minnesota’s Cooperative Purchasing Venture (CPV), a free service in which eligible organizations can purchase goods and services from more than 800 state contracts directly from vendors. Cooperative purchasing leverages economies of scale, which very often results in lower pricing and better terms and conditions.

“The program helps reduce costs and ease the purchasing process for key materials and major city equipment purchases,” says Steve Lillehaug, director of public works/city engineer with the City of Brooklyn Center and a member of the Minnesota LTAP Steering Committee. “And, it is quick and simple to become a member and use.”

Cities, counties, townships, school districts, colleges and universities, fire departments, watershed districts, certain non-profit organizations, and others are eligible.

Legislation passed in the 2009 Legislative Session encourages all municipalities defined in Minn. Stat. §471.345 to utilize the state’s contracts available under the CPV.

Eligible organizations simply sign up for a password, which gives them direct access to more than 800 state contracts. Orders are placed directly to the vendor, with shipment direct to the purchaser. Membership is free.

A wide variety of goods and services are available. Examples include computer hardware and software, cleaning supplies, vehicles, cell phones, copiers, furniture, fuel, industrial supplies, paint, paper, road salt, telecommunications equipment, and uniforms. Services available include hazardous waste recycling, packaging/assembly, digital imaging, roof repair, and translating.

The program does not guarantee the lowest price on every item; however, all CPV contracts are awarded through an open procurement process and pricing will be consistently fair and competitive.

More information, including an application form, is at the Materials Management Division Web site.

Other resources

The Hennepin County Purchasing Cooperative has about 75 active members that include other Minnesota counties, cities, school districts, and other public jurisdictions. Local governmental entities may be eligible to join. For more information, visit the Hennepin County Web site. The U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance serves state and local governments as well as nonprofit organizations. It was designed to be completely free and voluntary with no minimum purchase requirements. Each contract has been competitively bid by a local government entity, and each supplier has committed to offer its most competitive pricing to all participating agencies.

Currently over 36,000 state and local governmental agencies as well as nonprofit entities use the U.S. Communities program to purchase items such as technology products, auto supplies, office furniture, office supplies, and facility maintenance and repair supplies.

Learn more and sign up to participate on the U.S. Communities Web site.

Minnesota LTAP | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN 55455 | Location & Contact Information