Miami officials seek to extend waiver of preferential treatment
By Deserae del Campo
Local contractors won't get preferential treatment in bidding for Miami capital-improvement projects for at least another year if a proposal to extend a suspension of a city ordinance is approved.
A one-year suspension of a preferential-treatment ordinance is expiring, but city capital-improvement officials plan to go before the City Commission on Feb. 9 to ask for a one-year extension. The proposal missed the deadline to appear on the agenda for today's (1/26) meeting.
"We are requesting that the local preferential-treatment variance be extended for an additional one-year option," said Mary Conway, director of capital improvements and transportation.
According to city documents, "for several years, the city has provided a preference to vendors with offices located within the city's limits. ... The result is that many highly qualified and competitive contractors located outside the city no longer bid on city jobs."
The suspension went into effect last February. The ordinance allowed local contractors whose bids came within 10% of the lowest bid for a project to match the low bid. The local bidder who matched the lowest bid generally was awarded the contract.
According to city documents dated December 2004, local contractors given work under the ordinance had "difficulty performing adequately at the lower contract amount ... resulting in change orders and contract increases."
"Commissioners suspended the local preference promoting the interest of outside firms," Ms. Conway said. "This has allowed an open and competitive market."
After the proposed one-year extension, commissioners could decide to change the city code, eliminating the local preference altogether next year.