Searching for ways to drum up jobs, Rock Hill leaders sweetened a policy that gives preference to local businesses that compete for city contracts.
Under a change approved Monday night, a York County business gets an opportunity to do a city job if it comes within 5 percent of the lowest bid. To be chosen, the local firm must lower its price to match the low bid.
The previous rule set the threshold at 3 percent.
The gap between bids must be less than $15,000, meaning the program mostly would apply to small jobs such as water line installation, grass cutting and paving work. The previous cap was $10,000.
"Our local businesses, in the construction industry especially, are still going through a tough time," said Councilwoman Kathy Pender, who suggested the change. "This would be something we could do to create additional jobs."
The local preference was used one time in the first year for a landscaping job, city officials said.
The proposal comes as Rock Hill searches for solutions to an unemployment crisis. The jobless rate in the city has hovered around 20 percent for more than a year.
Rock Hill tackles $10 million to $15 million a year in building projects, from sewer and water lines to one-time items such as a new operations center.