Local Preference Ordinance Approved for Bay County

PANAMA CITY - Commissioners have decided to return to the practice of giving local businesses preferential treatment on county bids.

County commissioners approved a local preference ordinance Tuesday morning. It defines "local business" as one that's been in Bay County for at least a year.

If the headquarters of the business is located here, the county would select that company's bid, if it's within 5% of a non-local lowest bid. Commissioner Thomas was the only one to vote no on the proposal.

"Local preference is alive in Bay County. We do pick local people the majority of the time and I just think it will deter people from out of town from bidding, which in the long run will cost Bay County more money," said Thomas.

The ordinance also allows commissioners to select a business that has a branch in Bay County, if it's within 3% of a non-local low bid.