Tampa City Council rejects motion to ask state for local preference ban

01/07/10 Seán Kinane
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In an effort to keep money in their local economies, many municipal governments give preference to local companies when bidding on contracts. In November, Tampa City Council rejected that idea. At that meeting Council member John Dingfelder suggested asking the Florida Legislature to get rid of local preference throughout the state. But his idea failed this morning.

“The reason I made the motion is it was pretty obvious that this– that our community, and the majority of the Council was not in favor of a local preference ordinance, and so then I look around the state and I say, ‘Well, other communities are passing local preference ordinances and creating an unlevel [sic] playing field.’ And that’s not right and it’s kind of counterproductive to everything that we had talked about. So that’s where I came up with the motion in support of the American Builders and Contractors who were going up to Tallahassee to try and get some legislation to say, you know what, let’s go back to where we were probably 10, 15 years ago where there was no local preference ordinances across the whole state.”

But Council member Mary Mulhern says at the end of the last discussion about local preference, Dingfelder’s motion came as a surprise to her

“There was a predominance of people from the building industries and few people from the Chamber of Commerce at the last meeting and there weren’t a lot of people here, but I just don’t feel that this is an appropriate thing for us as a City Council to recommend to the state that they limit municipalities and localities from deciding on whether they want to have local preferences so I’m very uncomfortable with this.”

It took more than 25 seconds for Dingfelder’s motion to even be seconded. It then failed on a vote of three to four with Thomas Scott and Gwen Miller also voted for it.

WMNF’s coverage of November’s Tampa City Council meeting rejecting local preference

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