Our City Manager and Engineer's offices spent years working towards creating a fair, inviting and open bidding process, saving taxpayer's money. This began to bear fruit over the past few years as evidenced by the wider range of bidders on a number of projects coming from further away than typical.
While aspects of providing a Local Bidder Preference CAN have some merit, weakening the trust, or believability, in City Government should be guarded against. During a recent Council Meeting that saw Councilman Dobson's third attempt at reaching a consensus to define what is "local," some Council members derailed the process by attempting to amend the ordinance to make it "as easy as possible" to award a project to someone other than the low bidder, they wanted a simple majority vote. Councilman Dobson, supported by Mayor Pro Tem Knickerbocker and Councilman Louderman, wanted to include the provision to require a Super-Majority vote to award a project to a higher bidder. This would help ensure as fair and open of a process as possible.
As our City is essentially a business, I feel that the Mayor should always "set the bar" on expectations and goals. Operating in the most ethical business-like manner is what we need for consistency, as well as believability, to those outside our community. As this did not happen, I was disappointed. Deciding to reject a qualified low bid should ALWAYS be handled as seriously as possible, considering the long-term repercussions. If only I could have voted!