Iowa City implements "buy local" policy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City implements "buy local" policy


Dave Parsons knows all too well the difficulties a fourth generation family business like his faces in going up against the big guys.

"We've lost more than one decent size bid by less than one hundred dollars to somebody from who knows where, often out of state, and that's really frustrating," said Parsons, the CFO of Tallgrass Business Resources in Coralville.

Slowly, Parsons believes the playing field is leveling.

"Now we have access to many of those larger markets that we use to be shut out of," Parsons said.

Iowa City is the latest in the state to adopt a "Buy Local" policy.

"We do a considerable amount of business locally already, but we thought by enacting this policy we could do more while still ensuring that we're getting the best price," said Geoff Fruin, assistant to the Iowa City city manager.

Traditionally when a government entity like Iowa City hires out business, which runs from everything from tree removal to bringing in office supplies, the contract is awarded to the lowest bidder.

Under the new policy, a Johnson County business like Parsons' gets a second chance at the contract.

Johnson County businesses can now match the lowest bid from a non-local vendor, assuming the original bid was cost-competitive.

"It's really a value statement that the city's making recognizing that the folks paying taxes and fees here are local, and if there's an opportunity for us to do more business with those partners, we certainly want to do that," Fruin said. 

Efforts to help ensure businesses like Parsons' with deep roots in a community's past, have their fair shot at a bright future.

"For the first time we feel like somebody's listening.  Somebody's actually interested in the local guys and girls getting the business," Parsons said.



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