Is there a way to keep business in the county?

August 22, 2011

Awarding bids is a tricky business. Sussex County, just like all other governmental agencies, is obliged to award bids to the company that meets all criteria and presents the best price. Bids can be rejected based on company performance, or just about any other reason for that matter, but it can be a slippery slope not to award a bid to the low bidder. Not following that process can be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Some government entities have a bidding process that gives local businesses a little extra leverage. In a small area like this one, that could drive up the cost of projects by doing away with the competition.

Even so, perhaps someone much smarter than I can come up with a way to keep business within the county. Take for example a recent road rehabilitation project in Sussex County. County council awarded the bid to David A. Bramble Inc. of Chestertown, Md., for $79.312.50. I’m sure the company was thrilled to get the county’s business. Another company, Del-Mar-Va Paving Co. Inc. in Seaford, was the second-lowest bidder, just $498.25 under the winning bid.

When you consider the gap between the low and high bidder was about $12,000, Del-Mar-Va Paving’s bid was within the ballpark. The company pays county taxes and most of its employees probably live in the county.  The money spent on the project would actually be a small reinvestment back into the county’s economy.

  • Ron MacArthur has lived and worked in Sussex County all his life. As a journalist for more than 40 years, he has covered everything from county and town meetings to presidential visits. He also has a unique perspective having served as an elected official and lived on both sides of the county.

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