Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Expands Efforts to Buy Local, Make Purchasing More Competitive for Local Businesses

June 11, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive


Dane County has strengthened its preferred purchasing ordinance that helps area businesses compete for county contracts, expanding the county’s overall efforts to buy local, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


“By expanding our own efforts to buy local, Dane County continues to do its part to strengthen our vital small business economy,” said Parisi.  “More dollars spent locally are returned locally – helping more of our neighbors prosper, create jobs, and give back to our communities.”


The original preferred purchasing ordinance made the county’s contract bidding process more competitive for businesses that are located in the eight counties that comprise the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MREP), formerly THRIVE, economic development region – Dane, Columbia, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk.  Under the law, local businesses also have the opportunity to meet the lowest bid price for a contract if their bid is within a certain percentage of the lowest bid.


The recently revised ordinance extends that preference for businesses that sell a “Dane County-Made Good,” a “Regionally-Made Good,” and a “Wisconsin-Made Good.”  Businesses that fall under these categories sell items that are manufactured, mined, produced, or grown in Dane County, the THRIVE region, or the State of Wisconsin, and where over 50% of the total cost of the item’s components are made in that respective area.


The definition of a local vendor has changed as well, and now includes vendors that are registered and authorized to do business in the State of Wisconsin.


Supervisor Kyle Richmond, a leader in the county’s focus on supporting local businesses, authored the original preferred purchasing ordinance, and the changes that Parisi recently signed into law.


"Local government should help push our local economy toward helping local people and businesses survive and thrive," Richmond said.  "This is a small step in right direction."


Last year, Dane County became the first unit of government to join Dane Buy Local.  With over 700 members, Dane Buy Local is one of the largest economic development groups in Dane County.


“The partnership with Dane County has been very successful for Dane Buy Local. The County Executive’s office and County Supervisors, including Supervisor Kyle Richmond, have been very supportive of the efforts,” said Colin Murray, Executive Director of Dane Buy Local.  “Dane County has set the example in supporting Buying Locally. Now, other villages, towns and cities in the area are taking note as well. It is important to pay attention to supporting local businesses, for our own economic development, as this strengthens our communities.”


Dane Buy Local promotes thinking locally to create prosperous communities.  According to a recent study commissioned by Dane Buy Local, $73 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business remains in the local economy, versus $43 from a similar purchase at other businesses.


Businesses interested in competing for county contracts can find listings for open request for proposals and bids at


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