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The Honorable Keith James 2020 "State of the City" Address


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Companies with a majority ownership held by a woman or minority will receive extra points in competitive bids for city contracts of specific types and sizes
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (March 4, 2019) – The City of West Palm Beach announced new initiatives and updated audience members on upcoming opportunities to do work with the City at an outreach to small business owners, held at the Mandel Public Library Auditorium.
On February 15, Frank Hayden, the city’s Director of Procurement, unveiled the City’s new Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certification program, and explained the benefits of the existing Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification program.
Under the new M/WBE program, companies with a majority ownership held by a woman or minority will receive extra points in competitive bids for city contracts of specific types and sizes. M/WBE program advantages include opportunities for work with Prime Contractors and large firms as a subcontractor; free marketing of the M/WBE company to other city vendors and at networking events; and contract bids – or “sheltered markets” – for M/WBE companies only.
Hayden also talked about other City programs that would benefit the approximately 150 small business owners in attendance. The City’s Living Wage program stipulates that contractors must pay their on-site labor at least $14/hour through Sept. 30 and at least $15/hour after Sept. 30, 2019. The Living Wage program enables contractors to better recruit skilled labor to their projects. Hayden outlined the City’s Local Workforce program that requires a portion of the on-site labor be residents, which was appealing to business owners who want to employ West Palm Beach citizens.
“The City of West Palm Beach values diversity and wants its projects to have personnel that represent the diversity of the City.  We are working with community groups to ensure there are avenues for the inclusion and hiring of this workforce,” Hayden said.
Representatives from other City departments, including Tina Penu from Capital Improvement and Jennifer Ferriol, program manager in the Housing and Community Development Department, gave the audience highlights of upcoming contract opportunities. For example, Ferriol said funding will be in place for the construction of a new community site at 1600 North Australian Avenue, and certified businesses will be needed to complete the project.
More beneficial news came from Mark Parks, the City’s CFO, who illustrated in his presentation the City’s return to a level of financial stability last experienced in 2008.
“The City’s Property Value in 2008 was $12.7 billion, and in 2020, we are projecting it will be back to $12.7 billion, signaling a full recovery from the housing bubble,” Parks said. He also shared that the City is working on moving its vendors to an ACH payment system, to reduce payment timelines for small businesses.
The City’s Procurement Department holds quarterly outreach events to keep its current and potential vendors abreast of news that affects their ability to do business with West Palm Beach. The events encourage collaboration, one-on-one communications and business partnerships among vendors. The next outreach is scheduled for April 18, 2019.
The City of West Palm Beach Procurement Department offers opportunities for all suppliers, including small businesses. It values business relationships and strive to promote fair and equitable treatment of all suppliers. To learn more about its procurement opportunities in the area of goods and services, construction and professional services, visit or call 561-822-2100.