Commissioners want minorities more involved -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners want minorities more involved

October 17, 2006

Albany -- Some Albany city commissioners say minority businesses aren't getting their fair share in an major construction project. The airport has plans to make improvements to their taxiway.

They have a construction company in mind for the improvements, still commissioners want them to dig a little deeper for more minority participation.    

A $3.6 million project would improve the taxiway at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. But commissioners have an issue bigger than the project. "It is about minority participation and how many minorities we have in the area that can do the job," says Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard.

So far, City Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard says the number of minority contracts under a current bid for the project is small. "The airport has a DBE goal of 24.7% I believe it is and in looking at the bid, we only had a 12.9% DBE goal," says Hubbard.

That's about half, The city gets money from the federal government under the department of transportation and federal transit administration programs. They have certain criteria for the money, including a certain percentage of minority businesses for projects.

"The lowest bidder would only guarantee like 12% of participation, and with federal funds I think we need to at least have 20% or 24 % of minority participation," says City Commissioner Jon Howard.

Oxford Construction Company submitted the lowest bid for the project, but commissioners say if needed, they may have to look outside of the city for potential contractors. "I think it's upon us to try to find the people to do what needs to be done. There are some local and statewide minorities who would probably be able to do some of the work," says Hubbard.

Hubbard admits there may not be a large percentage of people who could do the job in Albany, but she says commissioners have to make an effort to change things. "Hopefully increase the DBE participation to 24%, 20% would make me happy if we could do that," says Hubbard.

To do that, they'll be getting on the phone to make sure this project has a good takeoff.  

The city plans to contact Oxford Construction to see if those DBE numbers can be increased before approving the bid. Oxford Vice President Melvin Edwards tells WALB that they'd be willing to take another look at the numbers, but they've tried to give the project as much minority participation as possible.

He says the project is too limited.