Log in

Keep It Local

05 Aug 2021 9:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

We all know the benefits and importance of spending our hard earned dollars locally to support the local economy.  We are reminded of it on days such as Small Business Saturday to counter the effects of exporting our dollars that occurs on Black Friday.  Or when local restaurants blend together just like the beautiful ingredients in their home grown and home cooked fare to remind us to eat local.  During the pandemic there has been an admirable effort to ensure that local businesses don’t close and local people don’t lose their jobs.  We have all wanted to do our part.

The importance of doing business locally is not only something we should focus on when it comes to retail and hospitality, it is important in the Construction Industry also.  This is perhaps most important when it comes to spending your tax dollars.  Local governments and school boards bid out millions of dollars worth of capital projects each year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 27,000 people are employed in the local construction industry.  These are your neighbors, your friends, the parents of your children’s friends.  Construction is an extremely important sector of the local economy. 

When your tax dollars are spent with local design professionals and local general contractors on local projects, they in turn hire local sub-contractors.  Your tax dollars then circulate in the community at local shops, local restaurants and with local charities.  Your tax dollars don’t only build that government building or school, they strengthen your local community.

Unfortunately, we are seeing a change in prioritizing local contractors and therefore the local economy with certain government entities, particularly the Manatee County School Board.  For many years, the Manatee School Board reaped the benefit of working with local contractors, resulting in some of the lowest school construction costs in the State of Florida.

These schools were being designed and built by workers who in some cases called local schools their alma mater and who were now sending their children to local schools.  When punch list items needed correction, the team that worked on the school was still here locally and their local reputations and sense of pride were still here on the line.  They responded with pride of ownership in their community.  They supported local sport teams, local charities and yes, local referendums that supported higher wages for teachers and enhanced learning opportunities for students.

Recently we have seen a change in this emphasis to use your tax dollars to do business locally.  Frankly, we are concerned and disappointed.   We hope this is just an anomaly, but we need assurance that local elected leaders and staff understand the importance of supporting businesses that have invested in the community and call this community home.  There is a track record of success using local contractors and a multiplier effect to your tax dollars that strengthens the entire community.

When local governments prioritize doing business with local firms, their employees shop locally, dine locally and support local charities.  We hope our local elected officials don’t lose site of this important priority for the good of the whole community.

Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved
8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 120
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Telephone (941) 907-7745
Fax (941) 907-3898
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software