Senate Bill 68 is one that could literally lead to saving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and assist local governments in strengthening their budgets.
According to the 2013 report card for America’s Infrastructure commissioned by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Indiana alone will have nearly $5.9 billion in drinking water and $7.1 billion in wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years. These major expenses are placing enormous strain on local government budgets while less money may be available from the state or federal government to assist in water infrastructure upgrades or replacements. Utilizing an open and competitive procurement process can save taxpayer dollars and strengthen local government budgets.
Unfortunately, many cities and towns in Indiana exclude or limit materials that could help save taxpayers and ratepayers money. For example, Bloomington and Carmel are two localities in Indiana that limit or exclude low-corrosive, alternative materials such as PVC from being used in water and/or wastewater pipe construction. Sometimes it is simply tradition or local preference that builds these biases into the building specifications. Yet, increasingly more and more cities, including Indianapolis, have now found that an “open and competitive procurement process” can be very useful in saving local taxpayer dollars.
Now is the time to pass legislation that will encourage competition and taxpayer savings while protecting the decision rights of local governments.