Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The Honorable Antonio F.D. Cabral, House Chair
The Honorable Nick Collins, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
State House, Boston
Dear Chair Cabral, Chair Collins, and Distinguished Members of the Committee,
On behalf of cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is writing to offer our comments regarding several bills that were heard before your Committee at your September 20 public hearing.
The MMA supports H. 3127 and S. 2019, An Act relative to chapter 30B procurement parity, and An Act relative to 30B procurement, respectively. These companion bills would increase the procurement cap for municipal purchases under Chapter 30B from $50,000 to $100,000. This would put all municipal purchases in line with Chapter 198 of the Acts of 2022, which increased the threshold for school purchases from $50,000 to $100,000. Last year’s changes through Chapter 198 have complicated procurement practices, since most municipalities have a single procurement officer and process handling both school and non-school related municipal purchases. These bills would remedy this problem by aligning the delegation thresholds for all municipal purchases, which would streamline the process, prevent unintentional errors, and set a cap in line with current inflationary purchasing power. We strongly urge the Committee to report these bills out favorably.
The MMA also supports H. 3039, An Act relative to snow hauling and removal. The routine snow and ice programs of most local jurisdictions include both the plowing of snow during an emergency event and the removal and hauling away of snow after the event. The Office of the Inspector General has determined that M.G.L. 30B Section 1(b)(17) applies only to snow plowing, but not snow hauling. The result of this interpretation is that jurisdictions must now publicly bid snow hauling services, and those contractors who are involved with plowing are not permitted to perform snow hauling services unless they are the successful bidder for snow hauling. Because snow hauling is the more lucrative aspect of the snow and ice removal process, fewer vendors are willing to contract with communities for plowing services if they do not have the snow hauling contract. The primary mission for cities and towns with respect to snow and ice is to clear streets and parking lots in a safe and timely manner. Given the tight economic climate, many municipalities are experiencing a shortage of plow contractors because they are migrating to other communities where they are allowed to participate in a hauling program. This bill would make the necessary change to clearly exempt snow hauling from the procurement process as well. We urge the Committee to provide H. 3039 with a favorable report.
The MMA opposes H. 2982, An Act requiring municipalities to place insurance out to bid. The insurance procurement process involves significant discussion and negotiation between municipalities and carriers regarding the structure of insurance coverage, including attachment levels, deductibles, risk management and loss control training and assistance, the term/length of engagement, and many other factors. This is why insurance services are expressly exempt from Chapter 30B. Cities and towns are in the best position to assess their insurance needs, and to determine when and how to solicit proposals, negotiate, and reach agreement with various carriers to meet their coverage needs at the best value. The bill implies that insurance products and coverage options are all structured the same, which is certainly not the case. H. 2982 would make procuring insurance much more difficult and much less effective for cities and towns, and create a process that would discourage creative, effective and affordable solutions for the particular needs of each community. We urge the Committee to reject H. 2982.
The MMA also opposes H. 3212, An Act eliminating the Procurement Act exemption for waste and recycling contracts. This bill would create a one-size-fits-all mandate that would force all municipalities to put these services out to bid. Municipalities who wish to use the bidding process are already free to do so. Requiring this for all waste and recycling contracts would create an unnecessary procurement hurdle and be costly for many municipalities and their taxpayers. We urge the Committee to reject H. 3212.
The MMA also opposes H. 3098, An Act to promote Massachusetts manufacturers. While we understand the importance of supporting Massachusetts businesses, this bill would create damaging limits on the competitive bidding process and reduce options for cities and towns, likely driving up costs to taxpayers. We urge the Committee to reject H. 3098.
We respectfully ask you to preserve and expand municipal flexibility while opposing any new rigid mandates or administrative burdens on cities and towns. Please also direct your attention to the comments made by the Massachusetts Association of Public Purchasing Officials (MAPPO) as the technical experts in this area. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me or MMA Legislative Analyst Ali DiMatteo at email@example.com at any time.
We are grateful for your support of local government in the Commonwealth and deeply appreciate your consideration of the municipal perspective on these important matters.
MMA Executive Director & CEO