HCWA Expands Procurement Opportunities
The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) Board of Directors, with assistance from the General Manager and Purchasing & Inventory Department, has expanded and diversified its procurement policies to provide more opportunities – and to encourage participation and inclusion – for locally-based companies to benefit from doing business with the utility.
At last month’s Authority Meeting, the HCWA Board passed three resolutions specifically targeting locally based small businesses in and around Henry County, Georgia. Those initiatives include: The Local Sheltered Market Program (LSMP), The Supplier Inclusion Program (SIP), and a reinforced Local Business Preference Program (LBPP).
“The resolutions we passed show and prove that the Water Authority is putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront, to let everyone have a seat at the table,” says Cletonya Stidom, Chair of the HCWA Board of Directors. “These resolutions will allow local small businesses – including those owned by minorities, women and veterans – to be more included in the procurement process and aware of bids on certain goods and services that we have in Henry County. I am so proud to be the chair of the HCWA board and that the board accepted the challenge to have policies that will show our community that we want diversity and inclusion.”
The Local Sheltered Market Program (LSMP)
The LSMP is designed to attract small businesses within Henry County and the surrounding counties within the Southern Crescent (South Metro Atlanta Region), by reserving certain contracts for goods and services for bidding by local businesses. The policy reflects the Authority’s desire to promote opportunities for local small businesses to participate in the utility’s supply chain and procurement process.
According to the LSMP, the Authority will identify supply and service contract opportunities, with an estimated annual value of less than $100,000, and reserve them for qualified local small businesses who can provide requested goods and services.
“The community benefits when Authority dollars are spent with businesses based in Henry County, and we are committed to the principles of fair and equitable opportunities for all prospective HCWA vendors,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “We want small-market suppliers to have the same opportunities as large-market suppliers.”
The Supplier Inclusion Program (SIP)
The SIP is designed to promote opportunities for certain designated businesses to participate in the procurement process for providing goods and services to the Authority. According to HCWA officials, the Authority’s intent is to take reasonable steps to ensure that qualified, diverse, and commercially useful businesses are included in the bidding process.
Under the provisions of the SIP, the Authority will identify, attract, promote and then track a competitively diverse population of qualified businesses with which to contract for the provision of goods, labor, materials, services, or supplies. Those businesses to be targeted will include Local and Small Business Enterprises (LSE), Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE), Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (VBE), and Woman-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE). By tracking the diversity of participating vendors in the HCWA procurement process, the Authority staff will collect data to report back to the HCWA Board on the progress made toward including these targeted enterprises, so that those doing business with the Authority reflect the geographic and demographic makeup of Henry County.
The Local Business Preference Program (LBPP)
Finally, the third resolution recently passed by the HCWA Board reaffirms the existing LBPP, which was implemented in December of 2019. Through this new resolution, the Authority’s leadership will establish additional outreach programs and marketing initiatives to continually attract local, small businesses who desire to do business with the Authority.
The major benefit of the Authority’s LBPP to a qualified Henry County Business is that they will be awarded the contract/order if their bid/quote is within 5% of a competing non-Henry County business. In order to be considered a “local” business, the individual or organization must have a physical address in Henry County, they must have a current Business or Occupational License issued by Henry County Government or local municipality, they must be a registered vendor with the HCWA, and they must have a copy of their business license on file.
“We have approximately 100 businesses on our master vendor list that are located within Henry County, and we are currently using many of these businesses when requesting bids for goods and services,” adds Farmer. “This policy reaffirms our efforts to reinvest as many of our dollars back into the community by partnering with local, diverse businesses and job providers.”
Media contact: Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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