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City OKs local vendor preference ordinance

At Tuesday’s Albany City Commission meeting, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard made a special presentation recognizing the winners of the Albany Dougherty Historic Preservation Commission 2012-2013 Student Art Competition & Exhibit. From left are Marlee Skinner, third place; Hadden Kelly, second place; and Emily McPeters, first place.

At Tuesday’s Albany City Commission meeting, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard made a special presentation recognizing the winners of the Albany Dougherty Historic Preservation Commission 2012-2013 Student Art Competition & Exhibit. From left are Marlee Skinner, third place; Hadden Kelly, second place; and Emily McPeters, first place.

ALBANY, Ga. -- After an extended discussion and a flurry of late amendments, the Albany City Commission approved a local procurement preference ordinance Tuesday that should increase purchasing opportunities for local vendors.

The ordinance will allow qualified local vendors whose bid is within 2 percent of the lowest bid by an out-of-town vendor to match the lower bid. Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff asked for a friendly amendment requiring local vendors who qualify for the preference ordinance to be up to date on taxes owed the city.

"We don't want to do business with somebody who already owes us money," Langstaff said.

Ward II Commissioner Ivey Hines had asked in a pre-briefing that the ordinance, which will remain in place for a three-year period before coming up for review, include an annual report on its impact on local bidders. Langstaff also asked that the number of bids received be monitored to determine if the ordinance will cut into the number of qualified bids the city receives.

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta questioned the amendment requiring vendors' taxes to be paid, saying errors in the tax office could eliminate a potential local business.

"We're in a sticky mess trying to depend on our tax department to determine if someone is a legitimate vendor," Marietta said. "I had a constituent tell me (the tax office) wouldn't accept his check because it was $23 different from their records. I don't like the way that office operates."

Also at the meeting, the commission approved an ordinance that will establish new, higher license fees for businesses that sell and serve alcohol. The new fees will be implemented under a two-tiered plan. The first increase will go into effect for new businesses that request licenses after May 31 and for all businesses that renew or apply for licenses on Jan. 1, 2014. The second increase will begin on Jan. 1, 2015.

Increases in the fees range from $30 for wine package sales to $1,200 for liquor, beer and wine sales by the drink. The new fees are expected to generate $145,000 in increased revenue.

The commission also voted to enact an ordinance that will increase motor vehicle rental fees by 3 percent effective June 1, a measure expected to increase city coffers by $179,000.

Commissioners approved the policy and criteria established for a lauded Job Investment Program funded by credits returned to the city's Water, Gas & Light Commission from the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. The funds equal one-third of an almost $90 million return of money collected as a hedge against deregulation that has been distributed by MEAG to WG&L over the last several years.

"I want it to be stated for the record that this is one of the biggest things the city has done in being pro-business; it's historic in a way," Marietta said of the Job Investment Program, which will offer monetary incentives for businesses locating or adding at least 100 new jobs or $10 million in capital improvements in Albany and Dougherty County.

The commission also OK'd distribution of HUD-funded Community Development Block Grants to Open Arms Inc ($15,000), the Albany Area YMCA for a program at Martin Luther King Elementary School ($10,000), Alzheimer's Outreach Center of South Georgia ($10,000), Mt. Zion Community Reinvestment Corp. Samaritan Clinic ($25,000) and Liberty House ($15,000).

Comments

VietVet1 1 year, 2 months ago

Would be nice just to contract with someone that has a "PROVEN" work production with 100% quailty finished product? . . . . . . Oh, I forgot, that would elimate most of who Albany hires!

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Amazed2 1 year, 2 months ago

What Mr Marietta said about Tax Dept is correct. I had to laugh couple years back. County and City always talking about tax collections. I also had my check mailed back to me for being about $20 less. The check was issued based on info I had at the time in the amount of $2500 (aporox). anyway rather than deposit the $2500 check which had funds available to cover they mailed it back about 2 weeks later refusing it?? I called they said they don't accept partial payments. To me simply the dumb folks at the tax dept should have deposited and sent me the note saying I still owed $25 I decided to just wait about 3 more weeks to replace the check.

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Amazed2 1 year, 2 months ago

Also Occupational Tax bills normally go out about October but in mid December we had not seen these and our corporate office want to pay prior to Dec 31 for tax deductions. I called the Tax Dept and the lady told me yours are not lost, said we have been too busy to get those out. Now that's crazy how can a tax dept be too busy to send out tax bills???

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Amazed2 1 year, 2 months ago

Technically I guess the records would or could have indicated that I had not paid my taxes. This is not stated in support of the local preference thing cause it will cost us more in the long run. Other vendors from outside will simply stop bidding which allows locals to bid higher when competition drops. 2% in the auto sales bidding is a big advantage locally. When an outside dealer misses a few deals he will say screw Albany let them pay more and he stops bidding.

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RedEric 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes Amazed, since the local bidders know who's bidding, they will take turns "Winning" the bid. We had this happen at a Firestone plant (not Albany) so we brought in an outside vendor, a ringer, who made them honest. The locals were highly indignant that we questioned their integrity by bringing in the outside vendor. This is just another safe way of sharing government money. Another thing that won't be talked about when everyone knows your name.

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Amazed2 1 year, 2 months ago

Rederic! I have seen the same thing in construction. The DOT called it Bid Rigging and several high profile contractors paid large fines and a few served some time.

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Amazed2 1 year, 2 months ago

Wondering if this applies to large construction contracts? 2.0% advantage is huge in the multi million dollar construction industry. That's $20,000 per million or for the new airport terminal about $200,000. I have a feeling the lawyers and the courts will end up in the middle of this deal. If I were to bid on a large sale or contract and actually won and it was given to someone else I would sue.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 2 months ago

Novel idea how about they take the $30 million they are skimming out of MEAG for their "Big Business" idea and divide that between all the businesses with less than 100 workers who have been paying taxes for more than two years!

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