Councilman calls for local preference after bids for vehicles go outside York County

Councilman Roddey: Local firms should get preference

adouglas@heraldonline.comDecember 3, 2012 

York County Councilman William "Bump" Roddey, D-District 4


The York County Council approved spending about $150,000 on seven county vehicles on Monday night, leading one councilman to repeat his call that the county should give preference to local businesses when it spends money.

Businesses and contractors vie for county contracts and purchases through a bidding process. The contract goes to the lowest bidder.

More taxpayer money should be kept in York County, said Councilman Bump Roddey. A local purchasing preference, he said, would help the council award more contracts to local businesses.

“We’re sending large sums of money outside the county,” Roddey said.

The county needs a policy, he said, that will help local businesses but not cost the county more money. To ultimately win a county contract, Roddey said, local businesses should have to match the lowest bidder.

A local preference policy would allow the county to award a contract to local businesses who are not initially the lowest bidder but are willing to match the lowest bid.

Burns Cadillac Chevrolet, a Rock Hill auto dealership, submitted a quote to the county on four of the seven vehicles the council approved buying on Monday. The county will not purchase the vehicles from the Rock Hill dealership because other in-state car dealers submitted lower bids for those vehicles.

One of the vehicles – a truck for the York County Sheriff’s Office – attracted bids from six companies from the Carolinas and Georgia.

The county will buy the truck for $23,471 from a car dealership in Beaufort. The Beaufort dealership beat Burns’ quote by $835.

Burns also gave the county quotes on an Impala and two 15-passenger vans.

The local dealership was outbid by $539 for the Impala and more than $8,000 for the two vans by other in-state car dealerships.

Councilman Eric Winstead took issue with changing the county’s purchasing policy, saying that local preference would show favoritism to one taxpayer over another if two local companies competed for the same contract.

“You get into a very slippery slope,” he said. “The solution to the problem is for the local companies to bid lower and get our business.”

Roddey pointed out twice during Monday’s meeting that the county was spending money with out-of-state businesses instead of Burns Cadillac Chevrolet.

Council Chairman Britt Blackwell said the council members needed to schedule a workshop to talk about what a local preference policy should look like.

Council OKs incentives

In other business, the council gave its final approval to an incentive package allowing Possehl Connector Services, a manufacturing company near the Rock Hill-York County Airport, to pay fees instead of taxes.

Council members also gave a second go-ahead for two other incentive packages on Monday. A final vote will take place Dec. 17 to allow Silcotech Carolina and Physicians Choice Laboratory Services to pay fees instead of taxes.

The county also is considering offering incentive packages to small and existing businesses, councilman Bruce Henderson said.

Anna Douglas 803-329-4068

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