Changes considered for Toledo’s local preference policy - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Changes considered for Toledo’s local preference policy

Posted: Updated:
Councilman Joe McNamara Councilman Joe McNamara
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

As the City of Toledo is planning for massive improvements at the water treatment plant, council members are reviewing a proposal aimed at having local workers working on that project and other future publicly-financed projects.

Legislation crafted by Councilman Joe McNamara calls for giving local firms a larger local preference reduction when the city evaluates bids for city contracts.

John Schlagheck, executive secretary for the Northwestern Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, says while he supports the measure, he also questions the timing of the proposal.

"We had a mayor for four years, and we got a guy who was President of City Council for a number of years, and waits until it's a mayoral race to bring it up," he said.

Schlagheck says it's a sore subject, referring to many out-of-town workers building the new TPS schools.

"We had guys laid off looking out their window at schools being built by somebody out of town," he said. "That doesn't help our local economy."

Roosevelt Gant's general contracting and construction management firm took part in projects such as Hollywood Casino Toledo, the Huntington Center and Fifth Third Field, and he worries any changes to the local preference policy would lead to slightly more expensive projects for taxpayers.

"You can offer a local preference that simply gives that local company an opportunity to accept an award at what that low bid was," he suggested. "And it's not costing taxpayers any money."

Gant says he favors giving local preference incentives for contractors to hire other local companies as sub-contractors, and including more minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

"The smaller companies who may not be bidding as the prime may not be able to take advantage of those local preference goals that are really the local Toledo companies."

The proposal would place a $300,000 local preference cap on bids, while the current cap is at $37,500.        

Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved