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10/11/2012

Counties can take construction bids electronically, AG says

But can't exclude traditional bid forms

Counties may take construction bids using an electronic bidding system, but may not require bids to be submitted electronically, according to an opinion issued by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

In an opinion issued September 21 to Stark County Prosecuting Attorney John D. Ferrero, DeWine said counties may contract with a private company to set up an "electronic bidding system" from which contractors could access information about projects the county is putting out to bid.

Contractors can be charged a fee for registering with the EBS and for filing a bid on a project, but the county also must continue to accept bids through the traditional "hard copy" process.

"Requiring a person to have access to the internet, computer skills, or pay a fee to file a bid or bid guaranty for a public contract imposes a restriction on persons who do not have internet access, computer skills or money to pay the fee," the opinion advised.

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