When local governments take bids for good and services, they often face a difficult choice: Support local businesses or get the lowest cost for taxpayers. It’s nice when it is possible to align both priorities, as the Austin school board was able to do this week in awarding a local firm the bid for the Woodson Kindergarten expansion.
Austin-based Wagner construction got board approval on Monday to serve as the general contractor for the school project, submitting the lowest base bid among seven that the district received. The Woodson project, along with construction of a new fifth- and sixth-grade school, will be paid for through a building levy that voters approved in November. While the necessity of improving and building schools inevitably hits taxpayers in the pocketbook, the pain is reduced significantly when many of those dollars go to local firms who hire local people who, in turn, spend many of those dollars in the community. In short, the tax investment not only builds schools, it gives the local economy a shot in the arm.
For various reasons, local bidders don’t always wins the big contracts. When they do, it’s a real plus for the community.