Council okays preferential bidding ordinance to help local contractors win major projects

The Lemoore City Council adopted a preferential bidding ordinance at its Tuesday meeting. The ordinance is designed to support local contractors as they bid for major projects within the City of Lemoore.

Council members arrived at a consensus of sorts at their July 16 meeting that it will give local contractors a break when it comes to bidding on Lemoore projects, despite evidence that local contractors already received a majority of the bids last year, and an ordinance requiring a local bidding preference wouldn’t have made any difference.

Council members approved a 5 percent preference for local bidders within the city limits and a 3 percent preference for those in the local zip code as the right approach. What this means is that if a local contractor is within 5 percent of the lowest bid, he or she may earn the contract, instead of the low bidder, who isn’t local.

Any bid under $250,000 in which a local bidder is within five percent (within the city limits) or three percent (within the Lemoore zip code area) that bidder may get the contract, and the city would make up the difference. Any contract over $250,000 if a local bidder is again within the parameters, it can match the bid, the difference would have to come out of their own pockets, not the city’s.

Council members passed the ordinance to a second reading despite hearing from staff that such an ordinance would not have made a difference last year. In the past 12 months bids in the amount of $6,530,000 were awarded and none of the bids would have been affected by the ordinance, and the city would not have paid any additional funds to make up a 5 percent difference. In fact, one local firm, Cen Cal Paving, won a majority of those bids.

Council members did make a concession that they would look at the issue in a year and determine the ordinance’s value.

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