County Executive Marc Elrich plans to send legislation to the County Council giving preference to Montgomery County-based businesses when awarding contracts. The council will consider the legislation when it returns in September from a monthlong recess.
Under the county executive’s proposal, Montgomery County businesses could receive up to 10 percentage points during the procurement process, giving them an advantage over businesses from other municipalities.
Elrich announced the legislation Monday afternoon during a news conference at the Silver Spring Library. He also discussed the expansion of other initiatives aimed at making the county more business friendly – one of his campaign promises from last year.
The county executive said Monday that many businesses previously based in Montgomery County have moved elsewhere due to a more favorable government contract process.
“We’ve had people tell us that ‘the reason we’ve located and moved to Prince George County was that Prince George’s County had preferenced them,’” he said.
During an interview after the news conference, Elrich said the owners of small and medium-sized businesses have been the main ones expressing the need to reform the procurement process. Giving preference to Montgomery-based businesses, he said, will help the local economy.
“The thing about doing business with Montgomery County companies is that the money stays here,” he said. “If I write a check to a company from someplace else, the money’s gone. Maybe the workers eat lunch here, but that’s all you’re gonna see. Whereas, if they’re here supporting Montgomery County businesses, they’re paying tax on their building. They’ve got inventory. There are a lot of benefits that come back to the county.”
Procurement Director Ash Shetty said in an interview Monday that when the county puts out a request for proposals for a contract bid, there will be a built-in advantage for local businesses.
“What we’re trying to do is encourage local businesses to compete. And knowing they get these 10 points in the bid might encourage them to participate,” he said.
Shetty said he hopes to see businesses previously based in Montgomery County return and that the more competitive bidding process will lead to more bids.
“Where we’ve seen two or three responses to a solicitation, I’m hoping to see five,” he said.
Council member Will Jawando, who attended Monday’s event, said he is optimistic about Elrich’s initiative.
“If you’re a business located here and you get a contract, that money’s gonna help the economy and the people that live here,” he said.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org