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Budget panel takes back changes to bidding on public works projects

Lawmakers voted Thursday to take back their proposal to make changes to state laws on public works projects.

Members of the state’s budget panel voted 12-4 Thursday afternoon in favor of a motion that would delete a previous change that would have increased the minimum estimated value of a project that would have to be let to the lowest bidder. If approved, the change would have taken the minimum amount from $25,000 to $100,000. Projects estimated to cost less than $100,000 would have been exempted from bidding requirements.

The change would have applied to all cities in the state except for Milwaukee, as well as to technical colleges, public libraries, counties, towns and villages.

The change also would have modified the rules that set out when most local governments in the state must place a notice in local newspapers informing the public that a project is not going to be bid out. Were the proposal adopted, projects estimated to cost between $15,000 and $100,000 would have required a notification of that sort.

The current range requiring that sort of publication is $5,000 to $25,000. The public is informed that the project will not be bid out using what is known as a Class 1 notice, which must be inserted once in an officially designated newspaper.

After a five-week delay, the Legislature’s budget-writing committee is close to final approval of a new two-year spending plan.

The Joint Finance Committee on Thursday neared a vote that would send the $70 billion budget on to the state Assembly on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s unclear when the Senate will take it up.

About Erika Strebel

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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