Miami-Dade County officials could take a more regional approach to its local hiring preferences for publicly funded work, but staff must first look into whether doing so is in the county’s best interest.
County Commissioners Thursday are set to vote on a resolution by Rene Garcia that would direct Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s office to examine the potential effects of local business preference reciprocity arrangements between Miami-Dade and Broward and Monroe counties.
If approved, the item would require county staff to deliver by mid-September a report detailing which other local governmental entities (like Miami-Dade Public Schools) have such pacts, the county’s past experiences with local preference reciprocity and the impacts any new agreements would have on local businesses.
The report would also include a list of recommendations, including whether amendments need to be made to the county code to effectuate any new reciprocity deals.
In 2020 alone, Miami-Dade awarded more than $501.5 million in contracts to private businesses, county records show.
Miami-Dade and Broward had a local business preference reciprocity agreement from June 2002 to September 2017, when it expired after a series of two-year renewals.
It may make sense now to resurrect that arrangement and possibly extend it to other South Florida counties, García told Florida Politics Tuesday.
“We have a multi-county community, and you can throw Palm Beach in there, too,” he said. “We share similar ecosystems, similar transportation. We share it all. Knowing that, why not create a system to look into exploring the idea of having all these businesses that want to apply for county contracts not be penalized because they’re headquartered in Broward or Monroe?”
Miami-Dade’s code of ordinances requires all competitive bid processes for government work to allow a local business whose bid is within 10% of the lowest offer for a county contract the chance to submit a best and final offer equal to or lower than the lowest bid.
If the company is headquartered within Miami-Dade, it may take a final shot at undercutting an offer if its bid came within 15% of an outside company’s proposal. Any local business whose offer is within 5% of the highest-ranked, non-local bidder must be allowed to negotiate with the county.
The code also allows companies in Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe to be considered local businesses if Miami-Dade executes an interlocal agreement with them.
Building better business ties between counties, García said, could help boost profits for South Florida companies while also lowering costs to taxpayers.
“It’s incumbent on the County Commission to look at these facts and put forth a resolution to try to bring down the cost of services, increase quality and really help the Greater Miami community as a whole,” he said. “This helps our communities grow.”