We breathe in the air around us every day without knowing exactly what is entering our lungs. Pollution is becoming more prevalent and working to create cleaner air is becoming a priority for agencies nationwide.
Lawn mowers and other garden equipment that are powered by gasoline are contributing to this issue, as well as wood burning and stagnant winter weather. These pollutants combined with vehicle emissions and industrial or chemical processes form a “bad” ozone that can trigger or worsen health problems.
Follow along as we outline how the largest county in Arizona leveraged a cooperative to create cleaner air for their community.
Creating Cleaner Air for Citizens
The Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) is dedicated to improving the air their citizens breathe every day. This team is working to reduce pollution in their environment by empowering the citizens of their vibrant community to take control of how they treat it. By leveraging the strategic best practice of cooperative purchasing, Maricopa County’s Procurement and Air Quality teams are taking proactive steps to solve the problem and better the health of community members.
James Foley, Maricopa County’s Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, assists in overseeing $750 million in annual expenditures for 55 county departments. The Office of Procurement Services serves as the main contracting department for the county, sourcing all supplies, services, and construction requirements.
The MCAQD set out to identify the most efficient and cost-effective way to reduce the negative impacts of pollution. They worked toward providing residents with the tools they need to take action on their own, specifically with lawn/garden equipment and fire pits. The idea was to launch a new resident voucher program offering eco-friendly versions of these types of outdoor equipment at a lower price through the buying power of their cooperative and industry-leading supplier partner The Home Depot Pro.
The Voucher Program
By leveraging a cooperative purchasing organization, the Maricopa County procurement team has been able to develop strong relationships with vendors offering solutions that fulfill the needs of the county’s internal departments, and in this case, advancing the unique mission of the Air Quality Department.
Working closely with the team at The Home Depot Pro, Maricopa County developed a voucher redemption process. This new process involved a streamlined system in which residents can redeem a program voucher to receive discounts. The Home Depot Pro’s cooperative contracts enabled the Air Quality team to explore options and develop the best possible process to provide stellar services to Maricopa County residents.
Through the partnership with OMNIA Partners and The Home Depot Pro, the Air Quality Department facilitates two programs working to reduce air pollution and improve the conditions for residents and visitors: Maricopa County Propane Fire Pit Program and Maricopa County Mowing Down Pollution Program.
Participating Home Depot locations display program posters with QR codes that customers can scan with their phone while in the store and receive a voucher for the product discount within minutes.
The Power of Cooperative Purchasing
Maricopa County serves as an OMNIA Partners lead agency, one of the most elite procurement teams in the nation. Lead agencies complete the competitive solicitation process so that other government agencies, schools and universities can benefit from and use the already publicly solicited and awarded cooperative contracts.
“The lead agency model of cooperative contracting reduces the administrative burden of purchasing and expedites the purchasing process for using entities in the most transparent manner while meeting all required statutory requirements,” says Foley. “It allows both larger and smaller entities to take advantage of competitively procured contracts that offer the ability to lower purchasing costs for end users.”
By utilizing the leverage of a cooperative, the team in Maricopa County has successfully implemented the voucher program resulting in cost savings and a reduction in pollutants.
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About The Home Depot Pro & OMNIA Partners
The Home Depot Pro, through OMNIA Partners, supports state and local government agencies to save you time and money. In addition, they work with public agencies to solve challenges with various programs. Their cooperative contract makes it easier than ever to get the supplies you need, with access to competitive pricing in top categories such as paint, building materials, flooring, plumbing, electrical, and more.