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About Cincinnati’s Contractor Bidding Policy
Another Example of City Council Working Against the Best Interests of the City
On May 1 , Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance, only hours after it was introduced, that places onerous apprenticeship labor requirements on construction firms. This action will prevent most area companies from being able to bid on construction projects for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), Cincinnati Storm Water and Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW). The ordinance could eliminate as much as 70% of the competition from performing work on approximately $3 billion dollars of EPA-mandated construction over the next ten years. When competition is drastically reduced by the elimination of a majority of contract bidders, costs naturally increase. Some contractors estimate that the cost of the MSD program could be increased by as much as $1.3 billion due to this ordinance. These costs will, of course, be shouldered by Hamilton County water and sewer ratepayers (the public) who will see their bills skyrocket. Furthermore, many smaller local businesses, and certainly minority-owned firms, will miss out on the city’s massive MSD “spend” which, in addition to helping to control the project’s costs, would also help keep these dollars local, benefiting local workers, their families and the local businesses they shop in, as well as significantly boost the city’s tax income.
If this is not bad enough, we now learn that several members of Council wish to extend this apprenticeship requirement to all city projects, raising the city’s costs further during a time when the city is already operating in the red and threatening to layoff as many of 66 policemen and 84 firemen & EMTs.
The restricted labor contracting ordinance follows on the heels of the contentious Cincinnati Streetcar project, unfunded employee pensions, threatened cuts to police and fire and a costly trash pick-up automation program. People vote with their pocketbooks and respond with their feet. In turn, Cincinnati will lose many more of its tax payers to the suburbs where their tax dollars are spent more responsibly.
Cincinnati stands at a crucial turning point that demands prudent fiscal control by, and accountability from, our elected officials. As residents with a stake in the future of this city, it's time we demand a City Council that places fiduciary responsibility above personal and political gain.
Erik and his family are a long-time residents of Cincinnati, who reside in College Hill.. Erik was a candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives in 2010 and is Chairman of the newly formed “Save Cincinnati”, a group of concerned citizens working together to restore common sense and transparency in our city government.
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