Posted: Monday, July 9th 2012 at 5:39pm
Hall Commissioners put off vendor preference
By Jerry Gunn Staff
GAINESVILLE - Hall County Commissioners differed and then decided to hold off on putting a proposed vendor preference ordinance up for consideration Monday.
The idea behind the proposal from Commissioner Billy Powell is to help local businesses if their bid is only a small difference over a bid from an out-of-town company.
“We’ve had so many bids that have been within pennies between out-of-town and in-town businesses and it seemed only right that if not for much more money let it to come to Hall County,” Powell said.
County Attorney Bill Blalock drew up an ordinance at the Commission’s request that affects contracts and purchases over $10,000 and under $100,000. For anything over $100,000 vendor preference would not apply because of state law, unless it was a request for proposal.
It defines a local bidder as a company that operates in Hall County, pays county taxes and holds a county business license prior to the bid due date.
“The local vendor may be awarded a bid if he is within three percent of the non-local vendor who would have otherwise received the bid,” Blalock said, adding that three percent is the average, with other counties allowing two to five percent.
Commissioner Craig Lutz said the ordinance could chase outside bidders away, pointing to what he called a lot of problems.
“The three percent or five percent becomes a tax to the county,” Lutz said. “Basically what you’ve done is you’re paying more for a product. Also, you’re going to affect the supply and demand curve in the local economy and eventually it’s going to drive away bids from people out of county because they’re going to know they’re at a disadvantage."
Commissioner Scott Gibbs disagreed, saying it was his experience as a contractor that vendor preference did not stop outside bids.
“I know I bid in communities where there’s local preference and I’m still willing to bid it, sometimes I get them, sometimes I don’t; people are still willing to bid especially in this economy,” Gibbs said. “I want to help my folks that are here.”
Chairman Tom Oliver at first suggested putting a ‘sunset’ provision on the measure to allow an annual review. He called the proposal a ‘slippery slope’ that needed public input and suggested it come up again for public comment in two weeks.
Commissioners considered a vendor preference ordinance three years ago and shelved it.
NEW LAW, NEW FEES
Metal recyclers in Hall County may expect an additional fee and some additional paper work thanks to a new state law aimed at curbing metal theft.
Hall Sheriff's Major Woodrow Tripp told county commissioners the county's seven recyclers must register with the Sheriff's Department and pay a $100 annual fee.
"You name it and if its metal they're stealing it and going to the recyclers," Major Tripp said. "They wouldn't police themselves so the legislature passed this law."
Tripp said the law funds a state data base that allows law officers to monitor and trace stolen metal across county lines. The new state law became effective July 1st.
WORD OF WARNING
A word of warning came from Hall County Administrator Randy Knighton.
The Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road is the new home of Hall County Elections, and Knighton says its no place for political signs.
Knighton added that early voting for the July 31st primary is underway and he wants a neutral venue for the voters.
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