Robbins Looks to Increase Business with Minority Firms
Robbins is reaching out to minorities.
On Thursday night at a special called meeting, the Town Board formally adopted an outreach plan for minority business participation. It will affect all the town’s construction projects.
This means that the town will ensure it is feasible for minority-owned businesses to submit successful bids or proposals, for any town contracts for building purposes.
Currently, Robbins is building its first fire station. Land across the rails from Town Hall is being cleared and leveled for the building.
Another big project has to do with water needs. Robbins will drill test wells in hopes of finding enough water resources to serve its residents and other water customers.
All those — and other projects — will be bid out on competitive contracts. The plan commissioners adopted means a better chance for a minority company to get the job. It sets out procedures the town will use and will mean Robbins is in compliance with state and federal laws that require minority outreach.
If Robbins receives state appropriations or grant funds in which the construction cost is more than $100,000, the goal is 10 percent minority participation. The way Robbins will verify that means taking a number of steps.
First, a town representative will be at any pre-bid conference. Then, at least 10 days before opening bids, Robbins will send interested minority businesses a notice including a description of the work, date and time of bids, whom to contact for questions, and where bid documents may be reviewed.
Those notices go to minority businesses that “otherwise have indicated to the North Carolina Office of Historically Underutilized Businesses an interest in the type of work being bid or the potential contracting opportunities listed” in any proposal for construction or repair.
Advertisements will go out as well, so even businesses not on that list can find out about projects and have a chance to bid. At least 10 days before any bid opening date, projects will be advertised in a statewide publication with minority business enterprise — or disadvantaged business enterprise — distribution.
Robbins will conduct searches for qualified minority firms on the Internet as well. The town will look at sites such as VendorLink, the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency.
Every subcontractor counted toward the percentage goal will be checked to verify it is certified through the appropriate state agency.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or jfchappell @gmail.com.
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