Local Government and School Accountability
Cost-Saving Ideas: Using State Contracts to Acquire Goods or Services
Sound procurement practices result in the acquisition of quality goods and services at the lowest cost. There are many purchasing options available to local governments and school districts. One such option is to acquire goods or services under the terms of a New York State contract.
The Procurement Services Group of the Office of General Services (OGS) awards contracts for thousands of different commodities, services, and technology products that are available to local governments and school districts. These contracts include awards for road salt and fuels, vehicles and heavy equipment, school buses, building materials and cleaning supplies, clothing, food and furniture, recycled and energy efficient products, travel and mail services, computer hardware and software, and much more. Purchasing through State contracts provides local and school officials with access to the State's buying power and expertise, which may result in lower prices and better quality goods and services.
The brochure is designed to provide information on State contracts and the potential benefits of using them. We encourage local and school officials to review this information before making purchasing decisions.
Benefits of Using State Contracts
State contracts can save you money on purchasing goods and services. OGS estimates possible savings of 10 to 40 percent on average purchase prices. Because State contracts meet the competitive bidding requirements of the General Municipal Law, they can easily be used as an alternative to separately procuring goods and services locally and can therefore:
- Reduce or eliminate the time required to prepare bid specifications.
- Enhance and simplify the purchase process.
- Minimize the time required to identify responsible vendors.
- Benefit from the competition of many bidders seeking large volume contracts.
- Provide benchmarks to judge the reasonableness of vendor quotations or bids solicited by localities.
- Help avoid certain controversies that may arise during the competitive bidding process.
- Get access to various options recycling/energy efficiency objectives.
Making Cost-Effective Purchasing Decisions
An audit performed by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) in 2005 found that most local governments purchased plow trucks through means other than State contracts. The audit revealed that 32 of 70 local governments could have saved $706,000, collectively, if they had used State contracts. Localities utilizing State and county contracts each typically paid from $20,000 to $30,000 less than localities that purchased comparable trucks through their own bidding process.
Another audit performed by OSC found additional cost savings opportunities in fuel purchases. The audit revealed that 10 local governments spent a total of about $1.6 million on vehicle and facilities fuels and could have saved about $97,500, or almost 6 percent, by using State contracts. An additional 74 local governments surveyed during the audit were paying in excess of State contract prices for at least one type of fuel and could have saved an additional $103,000 in total if they had used State contracts.
These audits demonstrate the need for local and school officials to explore all alternatives before purchasing goods and services, including utilizing State contracts, and decide which one will result in the most cost savings. When doing so, local and school officials should obtain State contract information related to the variety of options (or add-ons) offered, pricing and availability of the items before making purchasing decisions.
Getting Started - Access to State Contracts
OGS commodities, services and technology contracts, as well as contract renewal information, are posted on the OGS website almost immediately upon being issued. You can view them there or you can register online at www.ogs.state.ny.us/pns to receive email notices on contracts, as well as other important procurement related information. You can sign up to receive information for as few or as many of the contract areas that are of interest to you. You can also have paper copies of OGS contracts mailed to you upon request if need be.
The majority of State contracts can be used as soon as they are awarded. Orders are placed directly with the contractors listed for the item(s) or service(s) needed, using your own locality or school's purchase order. The State contract number should be included on your purchase order and on the original invoice presented for payment.
Additional Information on this Topic
For more information on using State contracts and/or to request the Index of OGS Contracts, a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of all available State contracts, contact OGS Procurement Services Group at:
Telephone: (518) 474-6717