County approves veterans business contracting policy

Chisago has become the first known county in the state to authorize a veteran-owned and veteran-aiding small business contracting policy.

County commissioners on June 6 unanimously authorized the measure under state statute, which was amended during the 2012 legislative session. Under the new policy, qualifying businesses owned by employing veterans will be awarded a 5 percent bid preference in calculating the lowest responsible bidder for awarding county contracts.

The policy will take effect July 1, the same date the amended state statute becomes law.

“Our objective is to recognize the service of those veterans who have served our nation so well,” said George McMahon, chair of the county board. “Those who were willing to give the last full measure of their devotion for their county should not have to stand in an unemployment line simply because of the vagaries of the local economy and a lack of understanding of the skills, experience and dedication these veterans bring to the workplace.”

Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter also weighed in on the policy.

“Our veterans and in particular those who have served since Sept. 11, 2001, are disproportionately represented within the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed. Implementation of this policy will help to address this identified inequity.”

The policy requires the county to notify and invite veteran-owned and veteran-aiding businesses when soliciting requests for bids, proposals or quotes on county contracts greater than $25,000. When responding, such businesses will be awarded a 5 percent bid preference in calculating and comparing qualified responses.

Veteran-aiding businesses are defined as those who employ at least 10 percent veterans who have served since Sept. 11, 2011, or have service-connected disabilities from any prior military service.

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