Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Straight From The Mayor: Giving local businesses an edge

Over the last couple of years, we have done a tremendous amount of work in order to attract new businesses to Cape Coral.
Creating new initiatives and streamlining processes are just a few of the things we have accomplished so far, with many other things on the way.
While we have spent a considerable amount of time and energy on this project, rest assured we have not forgot about those businesses that currently call Cape Coral home.
One step we took to ensure we take care of our hometown businesses is the ordinance we recently passed. This ordinance gives bidders from Cape Coral preference when it comes to city contracted work.
It seems that quite logical to create an ordinance that would protect local businesses. Other counties and municipalities have had these types of ordinances in place for quite awhile. For some reason, Cape Coral chose not pursue the same types of ordinances in the past. The reason we always heard was the city was trying to protect Cape Coral businesses. Previous councils feared that the other communities and counties would deny Cape Coral companies government work if we passed such an ordinance. Unfortunately, no one did the research to find out these cities and counties already had ordinances in place to show their local bidders preference.
After finding this out we moved forward and gathered information from other municipalities and counties. We also enlisted the help of local contractors and the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association. With their help, we fine tuned the ordinance to make clear what we did was fair, equitable and in line with other cities’ ordinances.
The reason we wanted to be sure that we were close was to keep them from locking Cape Coral businesses out of their government contracts. If we gave local bidders too much of an edge, they would give their local bidders too much of an edge. This, in principle, would lock Cape Coral businesses out of having a fair shot at local government work in their cities. We made sure to create an ordinance comparable with other cities’ ordinances. By doing that we leveled the playing field, giving everyone the same, equal opportunity within their community.
In our ordinance, we created a point system. The point system was not just based on money, but money and points. If a business, resides in Cape Coral or Lee County, it receives additional points. Businesses in Cape Coral would receive the maximum allowed points. For example, a company, from an outside area bids on a project and a Cape Coral company comes within 10% of the price of the outside company. We would then give the local bidder a chance to match the bid from the outside company. If they are able to make that bid, the local company is awarded the contract.
In the end, we were able to bring an ordinance forth that would protect and assist local businesses. This way we could funnel more city money into the local economy, creating jobs and generating revenue for our city.
I personally want to thank those who helped with creating this ordinance. Creating this ordinance was a terrific opportunity for the city and local businesses/organizations to work together and develop a win/win for everyone involved. I believe Cape Coral will be a better place because we enacted this ordinance.

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