Priority on bids should be given to local businesses

We are inspired to action this week after reading Eddie Conrad’s story. He’s the longtime owner of Conrad Construction Co. in Lebanon, and it’s a shame his plight is just now coming to light.
Oct 27, 2012

We are inspired to action this week after reading Eddie Conrad’s story. He’s the longtime owner of Conrad Construction Co. in Lebanon, and it’s a shame his plight is just now coming to light.
Unfortunately, Conrad’s story is not unique. It’s happening both locally and across the nation.
As it stands now, both Lebanon and Wilson County accept the lowest bid on a project regardless of whether the company bidding is local or otherwise. The idea of changing current laws to offer an advantage to local contractors over bids received from out-of-town contractors is one that should be explored.
Certainly, there are arguments to the contrary. One might be that it would diminish competition among bidders. But is that really a bad thing? Fewer bidders coupled with more local companies bidding on city and county jobs really accomplishes the original problem.
Another argument might be that it would cost more if city and county governments do not accept the lowest bid on a project. We really can’t argue that fact.
But consider this. One would imagine that if an out-of-town company comes into Wilson County to do work, the money that company is paid leaves with the company.
But if a local company does the work, buys its materials locally, pays its local workers to do the job and either invests or banks locally, that money stays local. There’s even more money thrust into the community if local companies are paid a little more than through the current lowest bidder method used.
According to Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Director Sue Vanatta, every dollar spent locally turns over seven times. In theory, that’s seven times the tax revenue local cities and counties can benefit from if the money spent here remains here, which would more than outweigh the original increase in the project cost in the first place.
That’s not to mention the fact that we should take care of our own for the health and security of our own communities.
We urge our local municipalities to take a close look at a plan like this in Wilson County. Let’s do it for Eddie Conrad and all the small businesses here.

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