MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The Minot City Council is reevaluating how it awards bids for products and services and whether local companies should be favored.

The issue arose when the council was deciding whether to award a contract for a water softening agent to a local business or a national one offering a lower price, the Minot Daily News reported .

Council member Shaun Sipma said he's concerned that city will dissuade outside companies from bidding by getting a reputation for favoring local ones.

"The reality is, if a company is able to give a reasonable expectation that they are going to be able to supply the product and perform the work and they are the low bid, that's who should get the award," council member Mark Jantzer said.

Council member Josh Wolsky said the city should try to keep dollars local.

"I think it does really erode our economy," Wolsky said. "I do think it's important that we keep our dollars here."

The council decided to award the contract to the lower bidder, Lhoist North America, saving taxpayers $80,000.

"We owe it to the citizens to have frugal government," council member Stephan Podrygula said.

Wolsky said the city should review its contractors and procurement policies because of upcoming projects.

"It strikes me as an opportune time to do a review of our business and look forward to see if we are implementing best practices and doing things the best way possible for the public interest and to protect the public dollars and ensure we are getting the best product," Wolsky said.

The council plans to continue discussing the local preference policy in the future.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com