The importance of hiring local was a big topic at the last Kodiak Island Borough Assembly regular meeting. A contract to replace the roof and siding of a garage at the Kodiak Landfill was up for approval. The proposed agreement was between the borough and Triple V Contracting, which is based in Big Lake, Alaska.
Friend Contractors, a local construction company, also bid on the project and its owner, Brenda Friends, made a last-minute pitch for the company during the meeting. She said even though it’ll cost the borough more to use Friend Contractors for the project it’ll have a good effect on the region in the long run.
“We have now 15 employees. They all pay taxes here and they reinvest their hard earned money within the community. So, it is a really good investment for the borough to keep local jobs local.”
The borough has the option to award contracts to local businesses even if they charge more than competitors, but their prices have to be within 10 percent of the lowest bid. In this case, Friend Contractor’s bid was about 5 percent more than Triple V Contractors, which gave the assembly the right to award them the contract.
Even though it qualified for local preference, Assemblyman Kyle Crow was against giving the contract to Friend Contractors. He thinks off island construction companies will stop bidding on projects in the region if the borough uses its local preference policy.
“Once we open the door on this I don’t see how we can close it on anybody, on any contract and what we’re telling anybody off island once we allow this ten percent preferred benefit to local contractors, no bodies going to be bidding on these contracts.”
The rest of the assembly didn’t agree with assemblyman Crow’s read on the situation and voted 4-1 in favor of awarding the contract to Friend Contractors.