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Favoring the home team

The Craig City Council at a meeting last week opened up a can of worms that deserves closer examination for the good of Moffat County.

Giving preferential treatment when it comes to local businesses bidding on city contracts and equipment could keep local dollars where they belong right here at home.

Currently city ordinance calls for the acceptance of the lowest bid in most cases.

But if we spend that money outside of the confines of Moffat County, one could argue that we’re actually losing money.

Every dollar spent in our community rolls over at least six times.

For example, if the city buys trucks from a local dealership, the local dealership uses that money to buy office supplies at a local retailer. The retailer uses that money to pay the salary of an employee who buys lunch at a local restaurant. The restaurant owner pays a local contractor to repave his parking lot and the contractor buys more building supplies at the local hardware store.

The city clearly has a vested interest in awarding bids to local businesses.

City staff members have been directed to draft an ordinance that would give local bidders a preference if their bids are within a certain percent of the lowest bidder. That percent would be based on a sliding scale depending on the total cost of the project or the equipment.

A downside, as City Manager Jim Ferree said, is that, after a while, competition may be driven away as local businesses continue to win bids.

But local businesses would not be able to bid on every contract and may not always be able to meet the percentage base of the lowest bidder.

The bottom line is that local businesses that hire local workers who pay local taxes deserve preferential treatment from local governments.


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