Public Hearing on preference for local contractors

07/22/09 Lindsey Kratochwill
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Tuesday evening, the case of local contractor preference was brought before the Pinellas County commission in a public hearing.

The commission heard public opinion on an ordinance that will allow local contractors to receive extra points if they have a headquarters in Pinellas County. In the event of a tie in points, the local business would have the advantage.

One issue many commissioners and members of the public had with the ordinance was the terminology used in naming headquarters and regional headquarters. Lauro says that it isn’t so easy to differentiate between offices.

Commissioner Susan Latvala was not comfortable with passing the ordinance. Before the public gave their thoughts, she said it needs to be worked on further.

Grady Terrell, of Terrell Industries, is a local businessman who has seen success firsthand in a previous ordinance. He supports passing this ordinance.

Steve Kona is the President of the Florida Gulf Coast Associated Builders and Contractors. According to Kona, the economy may not necessarily be improved by the proposal. He does not support the ordinance as it stands. He sees it as something that will deter contractors from working in the area, as well as make things difficult for those who work in multiple counties.

Keith Zayac wants to see the nature of the ordinance change before it is passed. He says that, as it is written, it would put up barriers for businesses.

Some felt that a committee reviewing local preferences would be helpful. James M. King, of George F. Young Engineering, suggested a plan which includes engineers, architects and county staff members.

Chairman Calvin Harris wants to see the ordinance finished in the next few weeks.

The ordinance was tabled at the end of the hearing and the commissioners discussed plans for assembling a committee.

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