Wyoming’s Game and Fish Commission made the correct legal choice for the contractor for the new G&F office in Cody. However, it was certainly not the best choice for Park County or Wyoming.
B.H. Inc., a Vernal, Utah, company with a satellite office in Rock Springs, was declared eligible for the project under the Wyoming law that gives preferential treatment to Wyoming companies. The contract was for $8.8 million.
The decision to award the bid was delayed so that the G&F commission and the state attorney general’s office could determine if B.H. was qualified as a resident company.
Groathouse Construction of Cody was underbid by $8,500, which is less than .1 percent of the total project.
While the winning contract will save the state $8,500, undoubtedly most of the profits of the project will end up out-of-state.
If a Park County company had been awarded the contract, the dollars from wages and profits would have remained right here in Park County. Those dollars would have paid mortgages, real estate taxes, sales taxes and benefited healthcare, schools and more.
Just a few weeks after the G&F bid was awarded, the Park County commissioners awarded Harris Trucking & Construction of Cody the right to purchase the scrap metal at the county landfill despite the fact that company was not the high bidder.
Harris Trucking was competing against two out-of-state companies.
The difference between the two cases was the state requires no more than a 5% difference in bids between in-state and out-of-state competing firms. Park County requires a 10% difference.
Keeping government dollars in-state has tremendous benefits both immediate and long-term for the residents of Wyoming.
We encourage government agencies to remain as fiscally conservative as possible, but sometimes spending a few dollars more can be a beneficial investment in the state.
We believe the Wyoming Legislature might need to upgrade its preferential treatment procurement policy.