Council wants to keep it local

Keywords: Poll question,

The Cortez City Council Tuesday night decided to stay with the current policy in giving local businesses preference when competing with companies and businesses outside of Montezuma County.

The local vendor policy calls for purchases and goods and services up to $49,999 to receive a 2-percent preference for the procurement of non-local vendors.

For goods and services ranging from $50,000 to $250,000, the preference would be 1 percent more than non-local vendors.

The idea was to give Montezuma County vendors the opportunity to bid for city services at a slightly higher price than what those services may cost elsewhere.

As an example, City Manager Shane Hale mentioned that if the city purchased a vehicle from Fort Collins, the cost to transport the vehicle to Cortez would have to be included in the overall cost.

The council in voting to keep the current code that was adopted Jan. 13, 2009, wanted to give local businesses preference but within reason when bidding on services and goods for the city.

“I do feel there is a need for a local preference policy,” Hale said, but added the question was to what extent.

Council member Tom Bolton said the local preference is a way to be responsible to taxpayers, not the voters when trying to get elected to office.

The advantages to the preference for local suppliers are that the funds spent would appear to be recycled back into the local economy with firms arguing that this will keep government funds circulating within the community as well as having the community support do so.

Some of the drawbacks include the chance the city could spend more funds to purchase services and goods in the county than what they would have been charged for shopping outside the county.

Other problems include inhibiting free and open competition, difficulty in defining what local and reciprocity means.

Hale also asked the council during its workshop if it would like the staff to create a resolution to support the 3B bond voters will decide on in November that would be used to build a new high school.

The council enthusiastically favored having a resolution of support for the bond. Council member Ty Keel did mention that five of the seven council members were either current or former employees of the school district, and their support of the resolution could be looked at as self-serving by some members of the public.

Hale said this resolution would enable him to go out to the community to support the bond passage because he is not tied to the same constraints the Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 is when it comes to issuing support for the bond passage.

Mayor Dan Porter, an administrator with Re-1, said the economic factor and what the school would mean to the community can not be overlooked.

Porter said the current high school may have been good for its time, but is not adequate for students who need to be taught methods to succeed in the 21st century.

Hale added a new school would even benefit those students who decide not to attend college by providing them with added and better instruction.

Bolton said he initially was against the 3B bond because of the district’s low test scores and graduation rates, but added he has switched his opinion after talking to educators and reading up on the subject.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com