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City council members propose legislation to give local companies better chance at city contracts

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Posted at 9:23 AM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 09:23:02-04

BALTIMORE — Members of the Baltimore City Council on Monday proposed legislation aimed at giving local companies a better chance at competing for city contracts.

The “Baltimore Business Inclusion and Empowerment Legislative Package”is sponsored by City Council President Nick J. Mosby and Councilmen Kristerfer Burnett and Antonio Glover.

Here are some highlights the group says is part of the bill.

  • Require contractors with projects valued at $100,000 or more to disclose annually where they are based, how many of their workers are Baltimore residents and how they performed on previous city contracts to show whether their work came in on time and at budget.
  • Establish penalties for contractors that fail to meet the disclosure requirements.
  • Ensure the city conducts market research before waiving requirements for minority- and women-owned business participation on city contracts.
  • Compel all waivers to come before the Board of Estimates for approval.
  • Establish a timeline and response process for companies to correct or withdraw a bid, including allowing small edits after a bid has been submitted to ensure small businesses do not inadvertently make a mistake that automatically disqualifies them from the process.

“This bill also does a really good job of helping the city get away from the sole-source contracts that continue to perpetuate inequities in our large-dollar projects. We’ve got to give an equal shot to businesses based in Baltimore,” said Burnett.

Tiffinie Carroll owns two businesses in Baltimore: Insight Global Technology and Empowering Minds Resource Center. She said the legislative package will address a number of hurdles locally-owned small businesses face when trying to secure work with the city.

“The contracting world has a lot of loopholes, and it becomes frustrating for a small business when you are putting yourself out there to compete and many times you don’t feel like you have a fair chance at winning,” Carroll said.