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County Commission Communications
A Periodic Column Written by Ed Douglas, Presiding Commissioner

March 17, 2016

Last year, the County Commission voted on a policy that allows us to accept local bids over non- local bids (out of county) with up to a 5% variance. The logic behind the policy is to try to do business with our local people who pay our taxes and support us. The rising tide raises all ships, and when we all make every effort to support each other, it can have a huge effect on our town and county. Early last year, we chose a local company over a non- local company for an equipment and service package. The bids were nearly the same but the non- local company had previously had the business, so it was still an important change to award the bid to the local company.

Recently, we opened bids for a new vehicle for the Sheriff's office. The Sheriff and his deputy reviewed the bids in detail to put them on an "apples to apples" basis and recommended that we purchase a certain type and brand that would meet their particular needs the best. The bids for that vehicle included bids from out- of- county bidders as well as a local bidder. The local bidder was not the lowest. It was higher by approximately 2.5%. Our Commission chose the slightly higher bid because we believed it was important to do business locally.

Although it is important to try to buy locally on all items, I believe the automobile is the most visible of all locally purchased items and is, therefore, very important as a symbol of the importance of the principle. If as a County we are driving around a vehicle that was purchased out of county, it is a virtual billboard telling people it is okay to shop elsewhere, which undermines all local merchants.

Not long after I first moved to Chillicothe as a banker in 1974, I headed up a program for the bank called "Shop Chillicothe First". The concept behind the program was not that you had to buy everything from your local merchants but that you at least give them a try first. Many times people mistakenly believe that a merchant doesn't have or can't get what they need and they are not always correct in this assumption.

I am not saying that a person can never buy anything out of town. Yes, I have bought items at shopping centers out of town. But I am saying that it is important to try and buy as much as we can locally. And if everyone makes a conscious effort to do this, we all benefit. I can say that since I moved into town 42 years ago, I have never purchased a vehicle from a non- local dealer; and my wife and I have purchased multiple vehicles from every one of our local new car dealers. (Local used car dealers are important too - I just haven't purchased one from every one of them.)

The important point to make is that our County Commission believes that we have to help set a standard for our county and believe local purchases are important. Just be conscious of this and do what you can to help support our county businesses when possible.

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