City Extends Discount To Vets

December 31, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Local armed services veterans who own a small business will now get an automatic discount on their bids when they try to do business with the city.

City commissioners recently established the Veteran’s Bid Discount Program as a way to increase business opportunities for veterans.

“It is very important that we show our respect for veterans,” said outgoing 2nd Ward Commissioner Rick Tormala.

The bid discount program will be managed by the city’s Equal Opportunity Office and will be incorporated into the city’s policies regarding the purchase of goods and services, and the city’s construction policy.

“It’s an annual bid discount, meaning veterans would have to apply once a year and the discount would be good for a year,” said Equal Opportunity Director Ingrid Scott-Weekley.

Veteran-owned small businesses would receive a 1-percent discount on bids. But to qualify for the discount, veterans must register their businesses with the federal government, which, in turn, verifies whether the business is actually owned by a veteran.

Tormala said he thought the program for veterans would stand up to Proposal 2 — which created a statewide ban on preferential treatment based on race and gender in the public sector — as vets come from both genders and all races.

“This is about status,” said Tormala.

Third Ward Commissioner James White said he hopes veterans take advantage of the discount and that the program encourages more veterans to start small businesses.

“This is really an economic development effort,” he said.

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