Bay City Commissioners voted Monday night to allow for lower bids on city projects by throwing out the prevailing wage ordinance.
Prevailing wage is the hourly wage paid to the majority of workers and laborers in a particular area and expertise.
Commissioners we spoke with say following prevailing wage causes many companies to put in higher bids for city contracts because companies have to hike up employees wages to meet the city's ordinance and they say in these cash strappped times it's costing too much.
More than a hundred local union workers showed up at the commissioners meeting to protest the vote to repeal the prevailing wage ordinance.
Union workers we spoke with said the quality of work is sacrificed by allowing for lower bids and in the end would actually cost taxpayers more money.
They also say the money from those set wages goes back into the local economy.
"When you lower the standards to a guy throwing in a low ball bid, you're going to get shoddy work. When you get shoddy work the taxpayers pay the price. Prevailing wage lowers the playing field across the board and you know wages are going to be paid for that job. We know that they are living wages and someone can raise a family in a good town in a good city," said Brent Pilarski, Local 1098.
Commissioner Chad Sibley said that's not the case and argued that prevailing wage rates are no where near the average income of most citizens.
"Basically you are looking at contracts that are going to be less costly to the taxpayer. Most of the time if you look at the prevailing wage rate and you look at the average income of the average citizen, it's no where near the same rate. The Bay City citizen is really going to benefit because they are going to get more bang for their buck. We're going to be able to increase on infrastructure and we are going to see more police officers on the street. This will give us an opportunity to re-allocate funds from these contracts to safety and infrastructure," said 8th Ward Commissioner Chad Sibley.
The prevailing wage will still hold up for projects with federal funding.