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Ipswich residents upset over process for picking contractors

IPSWICH (AP) -- Some Ipswich residents are upset by what they say is city government's refusal to bid small projects or to let businesses know when quotes are being sought for city jobs.

IPSWICH (AP) - Some Ipswich residents are upset by what they say is city government's refusal to bid small projects or to let businesses know when quotes are being sought for city jobs.

The issue arose earlier this year when the City Council requested quotes from only two businesses for a $22,000 job on the city's cold storage building, the American News reported. State law allows for that process if a project costs less than $50,000, but some Ipswich residents think the council is unfairly picking and choosing who gets city jobs.

"You're not doing your job as city works people," resident Tony Simon said at a recent council meeting.

Mayor LeRoy Kilber said the council follows the law, and that advertising for bids for small projects would be a waste of time and money.

"Our limit is $50,000 on those projects," Kilber said. "If it looks like it's getting close to that, then we'll bid it."

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Some residents think the city is breaking projects into smaller jobs to get under the $50,000 threshold. Since 2009, the city has spent $141,245 on the cold storage building without bidding for any of the work. In May, the city accepted a quote of $49,446 for concrete and heating work.

Some council members said they favor changes in how the city approaches smaller jobs.

"I guess I'd like to see if there's a job that's going to be done, maybe we could send a broadband email or a call to all businesses," Councilman Tom Schaefer said.

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