City of Tucson to Consider Ordinance Giving Local Businesses a Preference When Goods & Services are Procured

City mulls preference for local businesses

Policy would apply to contracts up to $1M

June 6, 2012


The Tucson City Council will soon consider an ordinance to give Tucson businesses a 5-point bonus preference in the scoring system used to evaluate bids to provide goods and services to the city.

Arizona firms outside the Tucson metro area would get a 3-point preference over national competitors, while franchises that have local owners would receive 1.5 preference points.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to have a draft ordinance returned for a final vote at an unspecified future meeting.

 The move would potentially help more Tucson tax dollars flow to Tucson-area businesses.

A group of Tucson business operators and city officials vetted the plan, which follows models in Florida and Wisconsin, said city procurement director Mark Neihart.

Businesses would identify themselves as being local on an affidavit, he said, and then city staff would verify addresses on business filings with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The preference policy would apply to city contracts for goods and services ranging from $50,000 to $1 million. That’s about 60 percent of all city contracts.

In an analysis of last year’s city spending, the city staff found 56 percent of contracts in that dollar range were paid to Pima County businesses and 81 percent of contracts were to Arizona businesses.

Earlier this year Pima County created a new policy for local preference in architecture and engineering contracts.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4346. 

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