The city is sending more dollars to disadvantaged businesses

It has been four years since a local waste hauler secretly recorded the city’s administrative services director alleging that high-ranking city officials discriminated against minority business owners. The tape aired on KAKE, and what unraveled was an audit and, eventually, a program aimed at making it easier for minority and disadvantaged businesses to win the often lucrative contracts let by the city. That mostly involved certifying new businesses and offering training classes on how to make successful bids on contracts.

Now the city is spending millions more on contracts with minority businesses, a new report out of City Hall shows. (Click on the graph above to see more detail.) Minority owned businesses received about 17 percent of all the city’s contract dollars in 2005. In 2006, 19 percent of the contracts went to those businesses. City council members applauded the increases in their meeting Tuesday. And some voiced support to continue the diversity task force — perhaps indefinitely. “I think there should be a longstanding committee,” Council member Lavonta Williams said. Mayor Carl Brewer also indicated he wants the groups work to continue.

An extension of their work is expected to come up for a vote in coming weeks.