South Charleston is poised to raise the size of purchases allowed without competitive bidding from $5,000 to $10,000.
The change passed first reading at City Council's meeting Thursday evening. Another reading is required for final approval.
Councilman Jeff Means, who chairs the Finance Committee, said, "It has been at $5,000 probably 15 years. It's hard to go out and not spend $5,000. This is something we need to do."
Mayor Frank Mullens agreed. "I know the state is at $25,000 and our own sanitary board is at $25,000," he said in an interview prior to the meeting. "I think it's time we raise it."
Going through the bidding process "is a costly thing to do and it can be cumbersome," Mullens said. "Our department heads are frugal and diligent at getting the best bang for the buck."
Mullens said big-ticket items like vehicles are more than $10,000, so they will continue to require competitive bidding.
Also at the meeting:
* Council honored Calvin Broyles Jewelers, 4708 MacCorkle Ave. S.W., for remodeling its storefront. Mullens said, "They really did a good job." He said the city would make some sidewalk improvements in front of the store, now that renovations are complete.
* In cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and its supporters, council proclaimed May 25 as "National Missing Children's Day."
* Council gave final approval to an amended ordinance that lowers the pre-treatment limits of cadmium and mercury The Dow Chemical Co. can discharge into the city's wastewater treatment plant.
Steve DeBarr, sanitary board manager and city engineer, has said the changes are a housekeeping issue designed to make the city's ordinance match the new wastewater discharge permit the city received from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
* Council learned that Lawson Freeman will be parade marshal at the city's 54th Annual Armed Forces Day Parade on May 18. Freeman is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Vietnam War. He retired earlier this week after 36 years with Nationwide Insurance in South Charleston.
Mullens thanked Freeman for his service and presented him with a plaque.
* The Masters Law Firm has agreed to fly Wayne Newton to and from West Virginia so the singer can make a special appearance at the Armed Forces Day Parade, said Bob Anderson, executive director of the South Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
* The Police Department is taking job applications and will offer physical exams and a civil service exam on June 1, Chief Brad Rinehart said. Applications are available at the Police Department. Additional information is posted online at www.scpolice.org/careers.html
* Mullens announced he has scheduled a meeting at 3 p.m. April 10 in the Municipal Building to go over the city's application to participate in the Home Rule pilot program.