SHELBY — Voters in Shelby have freed the city of what city leaders called “a restrictive requirement in the bidding process” by voting in favor of amending the charter.

Voters decided to amend Section 46 of the Shelby City Charter, specifically one sentence that states, “No contract shall be let which exceeds the estimate for the improvement contemplated.” 

The amendment passed with 71% of the vote according to final, unofficial totals from the Richland County Board of Elections. A total of 1,943 votes were cast in favor of the amendment, with 765 votes against.

By removing this sentence, the city can now adhere to the Ohio Revised Code’s rules, which allows a 10-percent cushion between a pre-bid estimate and the actual bids received. 

“I’m grateful and thankful to the voters for their amendment to the city charter,” said Councilman Garland Gates. 

“Our charter at present is very rigid regarding the awarding of contracts, a rigidity other subdivisions don’t have,” he said. “With the passage of this amendment, the city will have greater flexibility in the awarding of contracts.” 

The amendment will reduce the number of times a project would have to be re-bid, saving the city time and money. The previous language meant the city could not accept any project bid even a penny over budget. 

Project manager Joe Gies, whose job is most directly affected by the change in language, said he was pleased to see the amendment passed. 

“It’ll get us on par with pretty much every other city in the state, and hopefully avoid some confusion with our contractors,” he said. 

“In talking with suppliers and other engineers in the area … there are so many uncertainties with supply chains in putting projects out for bid,” he added. “This will give us a little bit more flexibility just in case.” 

Gies noted the city will likely have paving and sewer projects to look forward to that will benefit from the amended language. 

Once certified by the Richland County Board of Elections, the amendment will officially go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. 

“It’s what’s known as self-executing, no further legislative action is needed,” Gates said. 

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