Mayor Annise Parker announced today an initiative called Hire Houston First, which gives preference to local businesses in awarding contracts.
The big change:
For contracts under $100,000, the legislative changes allow the City to award contracts for the purchase of goods to a local firm if the local firm's price is within five percent of the lowest bid from an out-of-town company. For contracts exceeding $100,000, there can be no more than a three percent difference between the out-of-town low bid and the next highest offer from a local vendor.
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"As long as their pricing is competitive, I want to ensure preference is given to local contractors," Parker said. "In these tough economic times it's more important than ever for our tax dollars to stay in the community where they can support local businesses and the jobs they provide."
The plan, which will go to city council August 10, required changes in state law that were passed in the most recent legislative session.
Parker also announced she wants to expand "the principles of the legislation to include procurements for services, including construction work, and to encompass firms based across the greater Houston metropolitan area. The City would also have the discretion, when appropriate, to consider location when selecting contractors for architectural, engineering, and land surveying services."
"Hire Houston First will provide discretion, where appropriate, without negating our responsibility to wisely manage the dollars entrusted to us," she said. "It will maximize the local economic impact of our governmental spending."