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      Horry County proposal to benefit local contractors

      A proposal before the Horry County Council would help local contractors stay competitive with big construction companies from outside the area.

      The Local Vendor Preference Policy would give contractors based in Horry County the opportunity to match the low bid on a government project if their initial bid was within 5% of the low bid. The policy would allow smaller local contractors to compete with larger companies that come to the area, do a job and then leave.

      "There's going to be a lot of money and a lot of opportunity for local contractors to get involved to do road construction, site work, civil engineering." said Brad Lofton, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

      The policy would also benefit smaller and more specialized contractors like Rob Edwards and Maritime Green Builders. Edwards and his crew are working on renovations to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center. He told WPDE Newschannel 15 he's been outbid by big companies before. "It happens all the time, all the time, especially as things started to slack off in the last few years," said Edwards.

      "A lot of the goals of the county putting out construction work is to drive the economy, and when it leaves town it kind of defeats that purpose. Anything that can be done to keep the money in town would be great," Edwards added.

      Both Edwards and Lofton said the proposal would benefit more than just those getting new construction jobs.

      "Lets keep those dollars in Horry county. They'll re-circulate here, they'll benefit the retail industry, the healthcare industry, the housing industry and the rising tide will lift all the boats," said Lofton.

      "When you're dealing with taxpayer dollars I think its always good to return those dollars to the county that it comes from. That money goes into these employees who are paying local property taxes and local income taxes that stay in the state and county. It definitely helps stimulate things a lot quicker than just sending the money somewhere else."

      The county's Infrastructure and Regulation Committee was scheduled to discuss the plan at Thursday mornings meeting, and the Administration Committee was slated to do the same at Friday mornings meeting.