ROCKVILLE – In a press conference on Jan. 14, Councilmember Will Jawando discussed Bill 39-19, the Local Small Business Reserve Program (LSBRP), and Direct Purchase Enhancement Act and how it will directly affect the community.
According to a press release sent out by the county, Bill 39-19 would increase the percentage of eligible procurements to certified local for-profit small businesses from 20% to 25% and allow nonprofit entities to participate in the program.
In addition, Bill 39-19 further defines direct purchases as those purchases and contracts that are less than $10,000 and creates a goal of 50% of such purchases by county departments procured from local small businesses.
The bill also establishes a report card for agencies, to be produced by the Office of Procurement, to track progress toward this goal and amplify awareness of expenditures of less than $10,000.
It would also alter the definition of a “local small business” to include any for-profit business or nonprofit entity that: has its principal place of business or operations in the County, in the case of a for-profit business, is independently owned and operated and is not a subsidiary of another business or entity.
The main purpose of this bill is to reward and support small businesses in the county.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy,” said Jawando. “This is increasing the opportunities for them.”
The other integral part of this bill is to acknowledge the nonprofit’s effects on the county’s economy.”
At the introduction of this bill in December, Jawando spoke about how the county was already aware of small businesses and did not do anything to support them.
“We often all cite the facts that 90% of our businesses in the county are less than 50 people, and 80% are less than 15 people,” said Jawando. “It would be an understatement to say those small businesses are the backbone of our local economy.”
Jawando built on that during his press conference.
“It’s time that we acknowledge that we have been and continue to be an integral part of our local economy,” said Jawando. “Nonprofits provide 10% of our county workforce and put hundreds and millions of dollars back into our economy. We need to treat our nonprofit as businesses and find ways in this bill and other places to support their work.”
As Jawando spoke, two charts were displayed beside him, showing the effects of nonprofits and small businesses. One chart listed a goal for 50% of companies in the county to be small local businesses. Another chart stated that nonprofits generate economic growth, citing the $630 million in wages with less than 6,000 nonprofits.
“Nonprofits are an important part of the local economy,” said Leslie MacDonald, executive director of Nonprofit Montgomery. “Nonprofits supply jobs, buy supplies, rent office space, have accounts at local banks and use county insurance.”
While Jawando is the lead sponsor of Bill 39-19, Councilmembers Craig Rice, Nancy Navarro, Hans Riemer, Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass, Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Council President Sidney Katz are all cosponsors.
Despite the progress, the council wants the county to know that they are “making strides” to redress the balance at the local level.
“There are so many businesses in Montgomery County that have been born and raised here that don’t do business with our county,” said Rice.
“This is something that is front and center for us,” said Navarro. “Our economic platform is clear that this is a priority for our council, and I think bills like these really keep the momentum going and be a great asset.”