CORRECTION (Published 9/26/2013)

Two articles about competition for an Alameda County printing services contract incorrectly reported the percentage by which the cost is increasing. While the total contract amount is nearly doubling, from $6.025 million to $11.675 million, the annual cost increase is only 41 percent because the contract time period is also increasing from three to five years.

Health care reform changes are propelling Alameda County bureaucrats to print a lot more paperwork in the next two years, at least according to a new contract that is increasing by 41 percent the annual cost of outsourced printing services.

The Alameda County General Services Agency says it needs $5.7 million to award local printing firms in the next two years, an increase over the $6 million spent over the previous three years. The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the contract extension without comment.

The rising costs surprised some of the firms that get the money.

"The paper price has not gone up. The cost of printing has not gone up. The cost of labor is not changing for us," said Bill Briggs of Folger Graphics in Hayward. "They must be aware of some increased need that I'm not aware of."

County administrators did not explain that need in their letter asking supervisors to approve the contract, but one reason might be an increase in mailers and manuals about health care initiatives, said John Glann, purchasing manager for the General Services Agency.


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Briggs' Hayward firm is one of 14 local companies authorized to print the county's calendars, postcards, booklets, newsletters, reports, business cards and other products.

For each printing job, county officials must seek quotes from at least three of those firms and choose the one they want. Glann said that how much is awarded to each firm was not immediately available Friday. Some of the identified companies say they have never been picked.

"I've got approved for that contract but I've never got any work," said Deanna Felt of Felt's Printing in Union City.

(A previous version of this article misstated the rise in costs. While the total contract amount is doubling to $11.7 million, that amount covers the entire 5-year period of the contract, including the previous three years.) Contact Matt O'Brien at 510-208-6429. Follow him at Twitter.com/AlamedaCoNews.