The Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance Notice 2020-06 on emergency procurement and use of storm recovery reserves in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In circumstances where an emergency affecting the public health, safety or welfare requires the immediate delivery of goods or the performance of services, a contract may be awarded without public bidding regardless of the bid threshold. N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6 and N.J.A.C. 5:34-6.1. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.12, contracts awarded under such circumstances are excepted from Pay-to-Play due to public exigency. In addition, contracting units may enter into emergency contracts without first obtaining the Business Registration Certificate (BRC), however, payment on the contract cannot be made until a copy of the BRC is provided to the contracting unit. If a public works contract is awarded under emergency procedures the contractor must be notified of the applicable Public Works Contractor Registration and prevailing wage requirements at the time of award.
The Division is strongly recommending the cancellation of bid openings for non-essential goods and services. As a reminder, N.J.A.C. 5:34-9.3 outlines the procedures to cancel or postpone the receipt of bids or proposals. In the cases of bid openings for essential time sensitive projects, the Division recommends establishing protocols for hand delivery of bids that limits exposure to pathogens and communicating that protocol to prospective bidders.
The Division also notes that municipalities and counties with storm recovery reserves may use those funds for the COVID-19 response. Any reimbursement of these expenditures must be deposited back into the reserve. To establish a storm recovery reserve or convert a preexisting snow removal reserve to storm recovery, the governing body shall adopt a resolution establishing the reserve and submit the resolution to the Division. Municipalities and counties need not have had a snow removal reserve to establish a storm recovery reserve.
We suggest you review this material with your procurement official, chief financial officer, administrator and attorney.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x112.