San Diego, California - When given the chance, do you buy strawberries from Carlsbad or those shipped in from out of state? Some folks like to support the businesses in their backyard instead of somewhere else. They buy local.

The County of San Diego already gives an edge to local businesses and will now consider increasing the amount and also extending it to businesses owned or operated by disabled veterans.

Here how it currently works.

The County of San Diego buys goods and services to the tune of $1 billion a year. Not only does the County’s Department of Purchasing and Contracting want to get the best value for the taxpayer dollar, it also wants to go local if possible.

So if given the choice between a low bid from an outside company and several local businesses, Purchasing will subtract 1 percent from the bids submitted by local businesses to see if they become equal to or lower than the non-local business then award the contract to the local business at the local business price.

In essence, the County will pay up to 1 percent more to contract with a local business instead of a non-local business, giving local businesses an advantage when bidding for County contracts. 

Should that 1 percent be increased to a higher amount? The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to study the idea and also see whether the preference should be given to businesses owned or operated by disabled veterans. A report is expected back within 120 days. 

Purchasing and Contracting was also given the go-ahead to host a regional conference for other government procurement officials before the end of the year to see if it would be more efficient and cost-effective to collaborate when buying certain goods and services.