GAINESVILLE— Gainesville City Council members want the ability to give preference to local contractors in construction bids.
The preference would require a change to the city’s ordinances that may happen as soon as April.
Speaking with heads of the city’s public utilities department at this morning’s work session, Councilman Danny Dunagan asked about the possibility of awarding construction jobs to local contractors even if they do not present the lowest bid for the cost of the job.
Dunagan asked if the department could give preference to local contractors if their bids were within a small percentage, from 3 to 5 percent, of the lowest bidder.
“The money goes in the banks here, they hire local people, they do business locally, and in the long run, the bids will be cheaper,” said Dunagan.
Both Councilman Robert “Bob” Hamrick and Councilman George Wangemann expressed support for Dunagan’s request.
“The local contractor does pay taxes here, and that makes some difference,” said Wangemann.
The discussion spurred off a request from the utilities department to award the construction of the new Thompson Bridge force main to Gary’s Grading & Pipeline Co. Inc. of Monroe.
Though the Monroe company submitted the lowest bid for the job, estimating the cost to be $2,273,036, a Gainesville company submitted a bid within $16,000 of the lowest bid.
Council members agreed to continue with the award of the job to the Monroe company, but expressed a desire to change the city’s ordinances to allow them to give preference to local construction companies.