History shows that communities that support local businesses benefit in many ways. By keeping the money flowing within the community, unemployment levels are diminished and the tax base is enhanced. That consequently improves our communities’ ability to serve its citizens and improve quality of life for everyone.
Most local chambers of commerce have vigorous “buy local” initiatives, which help raise the profile of local businesses, the very engine of our economic structure. This effort should be extended to all aspects of business, not just retail, as is often the case.
City and county government as well as private and public businesses should all re-evaluate their use of local entities before looking outside our area. Engineers, architects, employee benefit management, subcontractors, roofers, data collection, printing and accountants are just a few of the professional pursuits often overlooked locally.
Local businesses generally provide better customer service because we see these people regularly in our community. These folks also enhance our overall quality of life by donating to local charities. For instance, they support sports, scouting activities, Little League and other activities for our youth.
Taxpayers who vote and pass local bond issues to build schools, community colleges, city and county projects naturally expect that the contractors will be local businesses, if at all possible. They do not expect those jobs to go to out-of-town concerns.
Yes, contract and procurement law is very complicated. However, every effort should be made to determine the “best-value standard” rather than the low bid alone. They should take into account the multiplier effect of keeping those dollars local.
Both government code, which governs state purchasing procurements, and local government codes, which guide city government, have language permitting a “best-value standard” in accepting bids. Local ordinances, too, can always be altered to bolster this idea.
Accordingly, local businesses can offer difference-making points in successfully managing a contract. (Most purchasing authorities assign various weights to different aspects of a bid.)
Every company should have a timely and fair opportunity to submit a bid on any local project.
I call upon our local businesses, large and small, as well as local governments to redouble their efforts and support the local folks. “Look here first” should be among our dominant thoughts.
I encourage all of us in this district to put forth a better effort to help our communities maintain a competitive balance and improve our economy and quality of life.
Charles “Doc” Anderson is a local veterinarian and the state representative from District 56, McLennan County.
900 Austin Ave., Suite 804