Borough looking to give local contractors preference

NAUGATUCK—Naugatuck companies may soon have a leg up when it comes to landing borough contracts.

The Charter Revision Commission is exploring the possibility of initiating a local bidder preference policy in the borough. Currently, the borough awards contracts based on the lowest, qualified bidder, regardless of whether the contractor is based in Naugatuck.

Burgess Robert Neth, who sits on the commission, raised the idea of giving local bidders preference during the commission’s March 31 meeting.

Neth said he’d like to see language changed in the Town Charter to make it easier for Naugatuck contracts to win bids for borough jobs.

“They’re taxpayers,” said Neth about Naugatuck contractors.

Neth said he would like to see language that gave the borough the power to award contracts to Naugatuck companies if their bid was within a certain percentage-possibly 5, 10, or 15 percent-of the lowest, qualified bid.

Aside from being taxpayers, Neth argued that borough contractors are going to take more pride in their work because they’re local.

“You’re just going to get a better product if local people are doing it,” Neth said.

No firm details were hammered out during the meeting, and it was unclear whether implementing such a policy would need a Charter revision or merely a new ordinance.

Neth was given the task of researching the idea and reporting back to the commission at its May meeting.

At a first glance though, the notion was received favorably.

Andrew Bottinick, chair of the commission, said he would love giving local companies an advantage to win bids. He felt even if the borough spent a little more money on contracts given to Naugatuck companies, there would be a cost benefit factor for the borough because these contractors would be paying taxes locally.

“I’m always a buy Naugatuck first kind of guy,” Bottinick said.