By STEVE JONES Staff writer

Rome companies could soon get an edge when doing business with the city. The Common Council is considering legislation that would change part of the purchasing procedure to "provide a preference to vendors located in the City of Rome." The seven-member council will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

The change would allow the city to select local vendors when purchases below a certain cost are to be made for supplies or contract services. Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr., the legislation states, wants to give "preference to local vendors for procurement of services and/or goods not required to be procured by competitive bidding" because it increases sales tax revenue received by the city, it "facilitates the vitality and long-term success of local businesses," and facilitates job retention with local businesses.

The change will affect purchases made when costs are below the thresholds for using the bid process. Bids are required for product purchases over $20,000 or public works projects over $35,000. In cases where the cost is below those thresholds, the purchasing agent seeks quotes from vendors. The change would allow the purchasing agent to choose a vendor from Rome if that vendor’s price is within 10 percent of the lowest quote.

The city is also prepared to submit a grant application to the state’s Environmental Facilities Corp. seeking $459,000 for green infrastructure.

The plan is to "create a living streetscape system that will enhance the aesthetics and pedestrian safety of the City of Rome’s Little Italy Business District on East Dominick Street," the legislation states. It will do this by expanding the pedestrian greenway, adding bio-retention areas "to ease the aging and overburdened stormwater infrastructure" and installing a pedestrian and bicycle pathway."

The state has agreed to provide the grant money with the requirement that the city provide at least 10 percent matching funds — $45,900. The mayor can increase the match by using in kind services. The matching funds, according to the plan, will come from funding obtained by the city from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.

The agenda also includes a rehabilitation agreement proposal. The deal is for the sale of 112 Kossuth St. to Eric and Candance Westcott for $500. The two-family residence is assessed for $23,900, according to city records. Sale of city parcels requires support from at least five of the seven councilors. If the deal is approved and the required rehabilitation work is done completed on time, the city can keep both the property and revenue from the sale.

The council will also be able to accept a $2,500 donation from Wal-Mart. Half of the money will be used for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, typically held the first Friday of December. The other half will help fund the 2012 summer concert series. The council accepted a $500 donation for the concerts from First Source Federal Credit Union at its last meeting, and the city is still seeking sponsors. Like last year, the city is partnering with the Rome Art and Community Center, which will host the Thursday evening concerts on its lawn at 308 W. Bloomfield St. There will be five concerts by local bands starting around mid-July, with specifics to be announced. To donate, contact the Parks Department at 339-7656 or e-mail Director Richard A. Miller at rmiller@romecitygov.com.

The city could also make its own donation, with council approval. There is legislation proposed to donate one of the city’s obsolete parking meters to the Rome Main Streets Alliance for use as a trophy at its 2012 Classic Car Show. The city will continue to offer other meters for sale through the Internet auction site eBay as well.