SF businesses would compete for city contracts

November 19, 2008 3:41:33 PM PST
San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell Tuesday introduced legislation aimed at streamlining a city bond program that encourages local small businesses to compete for city projects.

Maxwell said the Citywide Surety Bonding Program, established 13 years ago to allow the city to provide bonding support to businesses considered too risky by insurance companies, is already "a model program" being replicated by other municipalities throughout California.

According to Maxwell's office, only one of the so-called "risky" small businesses in 13 years has defaulted and been unable to complete a city project, or 0.2 percent of the total contracts. The industry-wide default rate is 13 percent, her office said.

Maxwell's proposed legislation would create a bond fund for the program, contributed to by city departments that contract out capital projects -- such as construction work at San Francisco International Airport, city ports or Recreation and Parks Department projects -- so that there would be a guaranteed pool of money for the departments to easily disburse, according to her office.

Maxwell's aide Emily Rogers said the streamlining could further help small businesses, especially woman- and minority-owned businesses, compete for contracts and potentially employ more local residents.

Rogers said the legislation already has sufficient support by a majority of the Board of Supervisors to pass, but will first proceed to a committee for approval.


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