Tuesday, September 2, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;82.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-09-02 17:17:03
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nashua adopts ordinance to give local businesses an advantage

NASHUA – It was nearly 10 years ago that Mike Francoeur lost a bid to supply Nashua High School North with jerseys for the track and field program, but Francoeur remembers the details like it was yesterday.

Nashua had just opened its new high school, and Francoeur, owner of M&N Sports on Bridge Street, was in the hunt to supply the athletic programs with gear for the fall, winter and spring seasons. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – It was nearly 10 years ago that Mike Francoeur lost a bid to supply Nashua High School North with jerseys for the track and field program, but Francoeur remembers the details like it was yesterday.

Nashua had just opened its new high school, and Francoeur, owner of M&N Sports on Bridge Street, was in the hunt to supply the athletic programs with gear for the fall, winter and spring seasons.

Francoeur won a contract worth $16,000 to outfit the school’s football team, but when the bids were opened to provide uniforms for the track and field and cross country programs, a company out of Boston beat him by 16 cents.

The sting of losing the job to an out-of-state firm still lingers. But for Francoeur and other local business owners, a new measure passed last week by Nashua’s Board of Aldermen could help give them the edge when it comes to awarding city business in the future.

Aldermen passed a measure Tuesday that creates a preference for giving contracts and jobs to local businesses when they’re offering a price that’s close to a competitor without any substantial presence in Nashua.

The ordinance was put forward by Ward 9 Alderman Ken Siegel, who said previously that M&N’s experience in the bidding process was one of the factors that inspired him to pen the legislation.

After watching a contract slip away by a margin of mere pennies, Francoeur said he was pleased to see an ordinance pass that will give city officials more leeway to support local businesses.

“It’s all people that work here in the community,” he said. “They spend their money in the community. It’s jobs for people in the community, the whole bit.”

The ordinance applies to all requests for bids, proposals or quotes for the purchase of goods or services. It also applies to concession contracts.

For contracts and services
valued at less than $10,000, the ordinance states that local companies will be preferred, as long as their bids were not more than 5 percent higher than the lowest bid received from a competitor.

The threshold drops slightly when contracts are valued at $10,000 or more. In such cases, local companies get preferential treatment when their bids are within at least 3 percent of the lowest bid from a competitor.

The ordinance defines “local” companies as those that “conduct substantial business” from a location in the city, employ a substantial number of Nashua residents, or are principally owned by residents of Nashua. The city also can grant businesses a local preference when they are “otherwise believed to bring substantial benefit” to Nashua’s local economy.

“The idea was not to somehow create some exclusion zone and hurt businesses that are an advantage for the city of Nashua, and I think that was nicely covered in there,” Siegel said last week.

The ordinance stipulates that local preference for bidders or products may be given only when there is no sacrifice or loss in quality, performance, or service. It does not apply if federal funds will be used, or if state funds will be used that are governed by regulations that prohibit a local preference.

If identical bids are received from local businesses for goods or services valued at $10,000 or more, the city’s purchasing manager is instructed to draw lots in public to choose the winner.

The ordinance passed unanimously last week after being reworked at a series of committee meetings. Siegel thanked Alderman-at-Large Brian McCarthy on Tuesday for helping him to amend the legislation along the way.

“I think this is a great example of constructive disagreement and ultimately something better coming out,” Siegel said.

Francoeur said he believes the preference will be an incentive for businesses thinking about setting up in Nashua.

“You have to do business locally,” he said. “It’s a good idea for our community. It’s better for everybody.”

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).