When Hilliard City Council President Brett Sciotto introduced legislation in March 2007 to create a "Hilliard First" local preference program for the awarding of city contracts, his hope was that the city would be able to do more business with local businesses.

When Hilliard City Council President Brett Sciotto introduced legislation in March 2007 to create a "Hilliard First" local preference program for the awarding of city contracts, his hope was that the city would be able to do more business with local businesses.

That legislation is about to pay off for John Eramo & Sons, Inc., a third-generation, family-owned excavation and construction company at 3670 Lacon Road, Hilliard.

The local company is being awarded a contract for more than a half-million dollars for three sewer improvement projects thanks to the "Hilliard First" ordinance.

The project includes improvements to the Cemetery Road storm sewer system at two railroad underpasses, replacement of the Parkway Lane sanitary sewer lift station and improvements to the Wilcox Road storm sewer system.

G&G Enterprises was the apparent low bidder on the project with a bid of $588,989.50.

When Eramo's bid of $589,985 was determined to be within 5 percent of the lowest bid, under the terms of the "Hilliard First" ordinance, the local company was given the opportunity match the lowest bid. City Service Director Butch Seidle said Eramo actually came back with a bid that was 50 cents lower than the original low bid.

"Since he was within 5 percent, he had to lower his price," Sciotto said. "So, the citizens still got the lowest price, the lowest bid. It just got assigned to a Hilliard company. So, that's a victory on all sides."

Sciotto said this is the first time the "Hilliard First" local preference program has been utilized since its passage over a year ago.

"It is a show of our commitment to strengthening business in Hilliard," Sciotto said. "I think this shows the commitment of the mayor and council to our local business community. I don't think a lot of other cities are doing this. Now we have a local company that is going to do work in Hilliard with public taxpayer dollars instead of those dollars going outside our city."

Legislation authorizing the awarding of the contract received its second reading and public hearing before Hilliard City Council Monday night. The contract is scheduled for final approval at council's Nov. 10 meeting.