The Mesa County Commissioners recently had the roof replaced on the Old Courthouse at 544 Rood Ave.
They gave the job to Better Line Roofing, LLC in Keenesburg, Colorado, 279 miles from here, instead of a local roofing company.
Plenty of highly-rated local roofers do commercial roofing and certainly many of them could have done this job. Some of them have been in business here for a very long time. If the commissioners had chosen a local company instead of one on the front range, that $179,000 in taxpayer funds could have stayed in Mesa County, supporting local jobs and getting circulated over and over again here, boosting the local economy.
Maybe the Keenesburg company had the lowest bid, but the Commissioners don’t have to take the lowest bid if they think it would be more beneficial to keep the taxpayer money local. Under the County’s bidding policy, they can accept the quote that they think is most advantageous to Mesa County as a whole:
Mesa County’s three Republican county commissioners surely must be aware that keeping the taxpayer money they spent on this job local would have been a great benefit to the local economy.
A 2018 survey by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found 67 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays in the community. Fifty cents of every dollar spent at a local businesses generates another 50 cents in local business activity because of employee spending and businesses purchasing goods and services locally, according to the Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express.
Commissioner Bobbie Daniel serves on the board of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP), the Mesa County Workforce Development Board and the Business Incubator, all of which exist to boost the local economy and local businesses.
Commissioner Cody Davis is himself a local business owner, and should understand the benefits of keeping taxpayer dollars local.
Janet Rowland’s biosketch on the County’s website says she “She continues to advocate for … hard-working families … and economic growth.”
But Rowland has actually displayed a punitive attitude towards local businesses before, in 2017, when she called for the county to decline to fund improvements to a steep, windy section of 38 Road in Palisade, part of the Fruit and Wine byway frequented by tourists that has a higher accident rate than other county roads. Rowland opposed the county funding the improvements even though it’s the County’s job to maintain infrastructure, including roads. She wanted the people who established the Fruit and Wine Byway to pay for the improvements, not the County.
The commissioners could say the bid from Keenesburg was the only one they received, but if they really cared about boosting the local economy, they could have made more of an effort to let local roofers know this job was up for bid. They could have done some quick outreach to local companies, put out a press release, or let local media know the project was up for grabs.
Another other reason the commissioners might have used the Keenesburg roofer for this job is that local roofers for some reason are unwilling to work with the County sot hey didn’t bid on it. There’s no indication that’s the case here, but if it is, the county should find out why and address it.
In any case, that $179,000 in Mesa County taxpayer funds just went towards boosting the local economy of Keenesburg instead of our own.
So far, Commissioner Cody Davis has not answered an email sent November 15 asking why the County used a roofing company in Keenesburg to replace the roof on the Old Courthouse instead of a company here in Mesa County.
UPDATE — 1121/2023 @10:04 a.m.
I got a response from Cody Davis this morning.